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How to Respond to Seniors in Denial About Needing Help

How to Respond to Seniors in Denial About Needing Help

How to Respond to Seniors in Denial About Needing Help

Independence is a value cherished by individuals across all age groups, including seniors who strongly value their autonomy. Despite this, it’s estimated that one in five Americans over the age of 75 require assistance with daily activities. When older adults find themselves in need of support to manage their day-to-day lives, some may resist the idea of receiving help from caregivers or home care services. This often leads to a challenging situation where the children of these seniors are caught in a struggle with their elderly loved ones, who could significantly benefit from the aid of senior care services.

If your elderly loved ones require daily care and assistance as they age, ensuring they receive this support is vital. It’s common for seniors to struggle with accepting their need for care, but it’s crucial for them to recognize that accepting help is in their best interest. Here are strategies to help adult children address the resistance often shown by senior parents towards receiving the necessary care.

Why are seniors in denial about care?

Growing old is rarely seen as attractive. While some elders may view their gray hairs as a badge of honor, most older people resist the idea of a future filled with physical frailty, increasing dependency, deteriorating health, and other well-recognized age-related characteristics.

Various additional reasons may accompany resistance to extra care. Fear is a motivating factor. Naturally, seniors fear losing the independence needed to function in daily life. Perhaps they also dread the possibility of succumbing to cognitive decline or developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Embarrassment can stop seniors from reaching out for assistance. Personal activities, such as toileting and bathing, are no longer private when the senior needs additional help. Even financial troubles, like being unable to pay for medications or food, may be humiliating and hinder seniors from accepting care.

When depression sinks in, seniors may feel they are a burden to family members. Older people tell those closest to them that their dependency is a financial drain to the family. These disillusionments are untrue. Yet, the seniors’ pessimism prevents them from getting the care they need.

An aging senior who resists help may not recognize that they are in denial. Concerned loved ones, however, are more than likely to see the senior’s rejections of help in its myriad forms. Confrontation is not recommended. Rather, attempt to discern the cause for the outright denial of help.

Having strangers in the house, lack of privacy in personal activities, and the loss of confidence in their abilities to be self-sufficient are common and legitimate reasons seniors avoid the growing reality that extra care is necessary. Pinpointing the reason for reluctance helps families sensitively respond to seniors’ concerns.

How do families respond to denial?

Family members should take note of seniors’ strengths and weaknesses. For example, Mom may be too frail to stand over a hot stove for hours to cook healthy meals; yet she is perfectly capable of tidying up the house. Or, Dad may no longer be able to mow the lawn.

When loved ones help in areas only where help is warranted, it gives the senior a much-needed sense of self-sufficiency in some aspects of life. An adult child can cook nutritious meals for Mom; a lawn service may be hired so Dad does not have to struggle with yardwork.

Gradually introducing help for the aging senior leads to acceptance of additional assistance in the future. The key is to not overwhelm the elderly individual. Incrementally introducing assistance where and when it is truly needed also builds trust. In the long run, help is more likely to be welcomed.

Losing control over their lives instills fear in seniors. Rather than take charge, adult children should give their aging parents a voice. Listen to their needs and include them when resolving issues. Give them the opportunity to have the final say. Empowerment boosts seniors’ confidence levels and reduces denial.

Work with the senior to create age-related goals. For instance, family members may discover the senior wants to remain active in community organizations or religious establishments. Remaining social with friends may be a senior’s priority. Collaborate to achieve the senior’s goals and ward off denial.

An effective way to help the senior move toward accomplishing their goals is to suggest a caregiver. Professionals like these are instrumental in giving seniors as much independence as possible. For example, caregivers can provide transportation to weekly social events and senior yoga classes.

Involving a caregiver in a senior’s life will be accepted more readily if the idea is presented in a tactful way. Rather than withdraw a senior’s driving privileges, introduce the idea of a caregiver who will transport them safely to the grocery store, to doctor’s appointments and to fulfill errands.

Communication is important when confronted with denial. Handle negativity by understanding the emotion is a natural outcome of the life challenges that accompany aging. Attempt to figure out the source of negativity. As much as possible, shower support and care to demonstrate a shared commitment.

Approaching Seniors Resistant to Care

When approaching your senior loved ones to discuss the need for care, it is important to be patient and treat them with compassion and respect. Make sure you take the following steps when approaching seniors who are resistant to care:

  • Choose the right moment: Approach your loved ones when they are calmed and relaxed, so they are more open to the discussion. Keep the conversation light, supportive, and constructive, do not force the idea onto them. If your loved ones respond by refusing help, give them time to think about it and approach them again at an appropriate time.
  • Explain the need for care: It is important for your loved ones to understand why they need care, but you must be delicate in this approach. Express your concern about their safety and well-being before bringing up the idea of getting home care. Let them know that you want to be there to help them with everything but that it is simply not possible. You can then frame outside help as help for you and your parents. Talk about the benefits of home care and how this can be a positive addition to their lives.
  • Enlist help: You can reach out to trusted third parties to help your loved ones understand that they could benefit from outside care. These third parties can include their primary doctor, friends, other family members, pasters, etc. When people who your loved ones trust and respect provide support for the idea of receiving care, they may be more receptive to the idea. If they have a trusted doctor, they can explain the benefits of home care from a medical professional.
  • Involve your loved ones in the planning: Deciding to get home care is a major decision that will greatly impact your life and the lives of your loved ones. Make sure you involve your loved ones in the planning and decisions when it comes to home care. Giving them a say in the type of care needed and planning will give them a sense of self-worth and help reduce their resistance.
  • Do a trial period: If your loved ones are still hesitant, suggest a trial period with a caregiver. This way, your loved ones can experience the benefits of home care without feeling like they have to commit to full-time care. Establish a period of time for the trial and if it does not work out, you and your loved ones can explore alternatives.

Home Care from Assisting Hands

Senior Home Care Elmhurst Illinois

Seniors who require additional support have the option to receive reliable assistance at home, preserving the memories made in their family residence. This creates an environment of comfort and familiarity. Opting for the compassionate services of a professional in-home caregiver from Assisting Hands Home Care is an empathetic approach to meeting their care needs.

Assisting Hands Home Care offers comprehensive non-medical home health care services. Our specially trained caregivers provide exceptional Alzheimer’s care for seniors with dementia. In cases of terminal illness, our team delivers sensitive hospice care. We also offer respite care services, giving family caregivers the necessary break to recharge.

Our senior home care solutions encompass a wide range of daily living activities. The caregivers at Assisting Hands Home Care assist with personal hygiene, meal preparation, transportation, and more. Moreover, they offer companionship, significantly alleviating the feelings of loneliness and isolation.

The desire to age in the comfort and security of one’s own home is understandable and attainable with the support of reputable senior care agencies like Assisting Hands Home Care. We offer elder care specialists who are ready to provide a complimentary in-home consultation, laying the groundwork for a nurturing caregiver and care-recipient relationship.

In DuPage County, Illinois, the elder community trusts Assisting Hands Home Care for fulfilling their non-medical senior care needs. Call us at