Convincing Your Aging Parent to Accept Help

Techniques for Convincing Elders to Accept Help

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


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Alan Danenberg September 27, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Thanks, Nancy. good comments. Another difficult aspect is when they need to give up driving. Very hard for people who were always able to come and go as they pleased, and were of the generation where driving was a privilege that they had earned. My Dad had Parkinson's, and when his driving abilities became suspect, we had to advise his doctor, so HE would advise the secretary of state to to require an evaluation. While waiting for the evaluation to be scheduled, I had to ask my Dad to forgo driving until after (if) he passed. He responded with "I'll think about it." My comeback was that if something happened to him, or to someone else, that I'd have to live with having allowed him to be in that position. He then agreed to wait. Good thing, because he "failed" the evaluation...badly. It was very hard for us to insist, but glad we did. Who knows what may have happened to him, or to someone else, if we had taken the easy way out and let him drive, even for those extra couple of weeks.
Nancy Carey September 27, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Thanks, Alan Giving up driving is very difficult for elders to accept. Your approach of expressing concern about injury to the elder or another person is an excellent way to handle the situation.
The world September 27, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Someone please intervene with Jan Serbian
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