Understanding the reluctant senior who resists your care

Taking care of a senior is a real challenge, especially if they refuse your help. Understanding the cause of their resistance may help you develop strategies to encourage cooperation.

Why do elder people resist care?

If a senior needs your care, this means she probably suffers from a loss, mentally, physically or both. Accepting help means giving up privacy. Your loved one might be afraid of being vulnerable. They see themselves as useless, which makes them angry. Guilt is also a factor as now they have become a burden to their family. In some cases, the senior may suffer memory loss, which confuses them about why they need help in the first place.

How to talk about caring with a resistant senior?

The doctor will probably discuss care needs with your loved one. However, if you must be the one to talk with your loved one about this, try some tips:

  • Assess the senior’s condition to see what they will need help with and choose the best service.
  • Only bring up the issue of help when both of you are relaxed. It will be easier for them to accept it.
  • Ask about their opinion. Ask them if they prefer certain kinds of services or if they want to be taken care of by a particular family member. Needless to say, it’s hard to meet all of their demands, but you should still listen to them and see what you can do.
  • Use simple language. An elder person may have trouble understanding. So, you should try to explain everything as simply as possible to avoid confusing them.
  • Get help from other family members. If you can’t persuade your loved one by yourself, other family members may be able to get through to them instead.
  • Keep trying. Your loved one may not be willing to talk to you about this now. Don’t give up. Try bringing up the topic another time.

Strategies to manage resistance

  • Encourage your loved one to give it a try. Don’t force them to decide right away. Instead, suggest a trial run to give them the chance to experience the advantages of having someone caring for them.
  • Ask your loved one to accept it for you. Explain how their acceptance of care can help make your life easier. Help them understand that sometimes compromising is necessary.
  • Talk with them about cost. In some cases, a senior just refuses care because they are worried about how much their children have to pay for the help. If there is insurance or other funding to help cover the cost, make sure your loved one knows about it.
  • If your loved one’s resistance to care put them in danger, you need to seek professional help. Your loved one may be more willing to listen to a health care provider than someone from within their own family circle.

This article first appeared in hellodoktor.com and was reviewed by Dr Duyen Le. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.