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What You Can Do When Your Aging Parents Refuse Help

Trying to support your aging parents may bring in a lot of unexpected challenges.  You’re trying to do what’s best to help your parents out, but all it’s doing is dampening the relationship because they’re refusing everything you’re doing. Seniors can at times be pretty stubborn and these cases only prove it. While trying to handle this is a major headache on its own, there are fortunately ways to continue helping them out. So the situation isn’t hopeless, thankfully. So how exactly can you get your parents to accept your help? These are a few ways that you can slowly get your parents to open up about accepting help. 

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Figure out why they’re rejecting help

Aging is something that we all have to deal with, whether we like it or not. Sure, age is just a number, but it comes with a lot of side effects. Some include mental health, but also a deterioration of physical health as well.  Having your health slowly peeled away isn’t something nice to deal with. When it comes to communicating with them, it’s important to think about their feelings and incorporate that. This should help with communication and it should also help them know that you understand what’s going on.

Your parents are going to like the idea of being infantilized by their own children. They’re going to want their autonomy, and they certainly don’t want their own children thinking that they’re weak. When it comes to your parents, here are some questions that you may want to ask yourself as they could help give you a better understanding of what they’re dealing with:

  • Have they always been this stubborn towards you?
  • Have they always been focused on their independence?
  • What may be some of their current fears?
  • How is their mental health? Are they showing certain signs?
  • How are they physically?
  • Are they, and have they ever been open about their health?

While you may not be able to identify root causes, asking yourself these can help you out in figuring out how your parents are and then assessing why they may be rejecting your help.

Accept the fact they may not want your help

This is honestly not the best outcome, but sometimes you just need to accept the fact that they are not going to want your help. Sure, it’s going to feel incredibly stressful on you after a while but at least it won’t destroy the relationship with your parents. But it is best to talk with them, because they may even open up on why they’re being so straightforward on why they’re not willing to accept help. Are they worried about accidents? Are they worried about going to a senior care facility? How about the potential of someone in the family getting a wrongful death attorney? You, as the child, cannot entirely figure out what their fears are, so it may be best to ask that. Even knowing their fears may help with you accepting the situation.

Find little ways to help

Sure, the above statement was about accepting that your parents don’t want your help but sometimes you just got to pick your battles. You can’t help out with everything but sometimes those tiny noticeable things can help you out and they will never need to notice. When it comes to aging parents, dental coverage is vital, so maybe you can buy some toothpaste or denture tablets for them and just put them in the bathroom. It’s a small little nudge to help out. Maybe there are some weeds in their garden, even getting a few of those can help out. 

Just look into tiny ways to help them out. You know that you’re trying to help, and you’re trying to make their life easier, but you won’t have to deal with them getting angry at you for stepping in and helping. But you also don’t want them to think that their mental health is declining as some small ways to help may backfire as it may leave them confused.

Treat your parents as adults

As your parents age, the caretaking roles tend to reverse. Understandably, your parents are going to be uncomfortable with the thought of you stepping in and taking the role of taking care of them. It’s probably going to be uncomfortable for them to even think about a nurse coming in and taking care of them. You want your parents to receive the best care possible, but it’s best to treat them like adults. You can offer small favors and if they refuse, just deal with it. Maybe take them out for a bit, or even encourage them to go join a social club, pick up a hobby, or anything to keep their mind and body sharp. It’s a small way to help, but it still lets them know that they’re in control. 

Heather Brummett

I am Heather Brummett . I'm just a real mom, sharing my real life experiences with the world. Thank you for being a part of my world. Here you will find recipes, crafts, fun ideas for the kids, how to work at home, encouragement, inspiration, and the latest news in and around Houston. To be featured or for information on freelance work contact me at [email protected]

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