Getting an older parent to accept assistance can be very frustrating. Whether it’s having someone come to the home to help manage their medications, making changes to their home to make it safe, arranging for home care, assisting with managing finances/bill paying, or bringing in a cleaning service your parent may resist. Most elders are fiercely independent and find it difficult to admit they need help.
Here are a few approaches you may want to consider to increase the likelihood your aging parent will accept the services you know they need:
Play to their heart
Many older adults will react differently if they hear that you are stressed with worry about them. Explaining that you are overwhelmed with trying to manage your own life as well as theirs and then providing suggestions of services that can address their needs may change their perspective. They do not want to be a burden so they might agree to something they would otherwise reject out of hand.
Don’t Make It About Them
Avoid any references to them not being able to take care of themselves. It strikes at their pride and desire for independence. Explain how YOU are missing work or skipping important activities so you have time to help them with THEIR needs. This approach may help your parent agree with your suggestions.
Give It a Try
Most of us like the idea of trying something before committing to it. Explaining that the service you are proposing is something that can be phased in and cancelled should they not like it might help overcome their anxieties. They’ll know they have the opportunity to say no to this new approach, which might make it easier to accept. Hopefully the change will be well executed so your aging parents will see the benefit and stick with it.
Remember, getting your aging parent to accept help is a challenge. It might take multiple discussions before they agree. Do you have any suggestions on techniques you’d like to share?
Nancy Carey, RN
Geriatric Care Manager