When Aging Parents Won’t Receive Help

Often times adult children aren’t sure how to approach talking with their parents about receiving help around the house. Here, we will discuss how to deal with this senior-life challenge.

It’s important to speak up when it’s clear that help is needed. It’s usually pretty late in the game that seniors realize on their own that they would benefit greatly from help. Even worse, the adult children sometimes sit on the sidelines, knowing that Mom and Dad need help, until a sudden injury occurs which could have been prevented.

It’s the same story, the son or daughter presses the mother or father to get senior home care, and the parents push back just as hard. The more urgent the need for care is, the more the battle escalates. Sometimes, taking away their responsibilities can make them feel like their pride is also being taken away. For this reason, the parent can see their son or daughter as their opponent, while aging is the real adversary.

1. Empowerment

It’s not only important to make it clear that you are on your aging parent’s side in living independently for as long as possible, but it is also crucial to highlight the benefits to his or her activities from receiving help with other duties. For example, you could say something like “since we are going to have someone come and mow the lawn,” since it is difficult for him to push the lawn mower, “this will give you more time and energy for trimming, weeding, and planting.” Explain that with help, he can get more done, not less.

2. Enabling Growth

Talk about how your parent letting you or a caregiver help them is allowing you all a chance to learn and grow. You can explain how much it would mean to see that he is assisted. You can bring up how he took care of his parents when they were in the same position, if that is the case.

3. Role Model Reminder

Receiving care graciously is getting old gracefully: As kids, adult children learn from observing how their parents prepare for and handle the challenges of life. As adults, again they learn from observing their aging parents handling the numerous struggles towards the end of life.

Make it clear that you are still learning from you parent, and if he or she can display calm acceptance in receiving care, they could be a model of graciousness in the face of life’s most troubling changes, physical and mental decline.

Remind your parent(s) that their healthy choices of accommodation can make a real positive difference in your outlook on aging. Seeing them bitterly fight their aging, and your help, may instill more negative feelings towards old age.