Overcoming Objections: A Guide for Families When Parents Resist Help

An adult son reasons with his older father, knowing how to overcome objections when parents resist help.
Learn how to overcome objections when parents resist help.

It is a tough scenario many family caregivers run into: your elderly parents, who once cared for you, now protest the help they so desperately need. There is a delicate balance between respecting their freedom and protecting their well-being and safety. If you are in this situation, you’re not alone! We recognize the array of emotions that arise when parents resist help, and have some tips to help you and your parents get on the same page.

Step Into Their Shoes

Understanding the reasons for your parents’ resistance is a good place to start. Sometimes, it stems from a wish to maintain autonomy and control of their lives. Aging can be a daunting process, marked by changes in physical and mental health that can leave seniors feeling vulnerable. By declining help, they could be seeking to affirm their independence and maintain a sense of dignity.

However, fear and denial may also be playing a role in their denial of help. Acknowledging that care is needed can be intimidating, as it can symbolize a loss of self-sufficiency. Additionally, some individuals may simply not understand the extent of their limitations or what resources are available for support.

Coming to an Agreement About the Need for Care

So, what can you do when facing this difficult scenario? Most importantly, come to the conversation with understanding and empathy. Acknowledge your parents’ concerns and feelings, and assure them that your goal is to support them in maintaining their independence and quality of life.

Begin by listening actively to their position. Understanding their reasons for not wanting help can help you adapt your approach and handle their specific worries. Reassure them that accepting help does not mean that they are losing control, but rather that they are ensuring they will be able to live at home safely and comfortably.

Compromising is generally a great way to reach agreement with your parents. For instance, if the notion of having help with baths or showers is off-putting, propose the idea of assistance with running errands, housekeeping, and meal preparation. When they get to know and trust their caregiver with these types of less-intimidating services, it’s easier to work your way up to additional care.

If your parents are still resistant to the idea, consider enlisting the help of a trusted third party, such as a doctor. In some cases, hearing advice from an objective expert can carry more weight than coming from a relative.
Above all, understand that change takes time and patience. It might require multiple conversations and gentle persuasion before your parents feel comfortable accepting help. Be persistent yet compassionate, and always prioritize their feelings and wishes.

At JFS Care, we have helped many senior loved ones live fuller and more enriching lives at home, and we are here to help your parents whenever they are ready, with personalized senior care solutions in West Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Santa Monica, and the neighboring areas. We offer a complimentary in-home consultation to help you and your parents talk through the services that will best meet their needs. Contact us any time at 213-383-2273.