According to a study done by Penn State, about 77% of adult children feel that their parents/loved ones are stubborn about taking advice or receiving help with daily tasks. The cycle of asking to help and getting turned down can be monotonous. Fortunately, we have some tips that will help make your situation feel less hopeless and your loved ones feel comfortable with the necessary changes.
1. Try to understand why they are resisting help.
Many older adults live with mental health issues, such as dementia, depression, and anxiety. Making time to talk to them, understanding their frustration and why they are resisting your help can go a long way. Identifying the root cause of their emotions can make it easier for you to make positive changes.
2. Accept the situation
Letting go of the need to control your elderly parents, even if it’s for their own good, is denying reality: You can’t force them to do anything. Your elderly parents/loved ones have the right, as adults, to make their own choices. Even the wrong ones. Accepting this reality is difficult, but can ultimately lower your stress and strengthen your relationship.
3. Pick your battles
People of all ages do not respond well to nagging- whether it is real or perceived. Deciding what issues are most important to you and choosing to work on those. For example, things that will keep them safe over them joining a fitness class or updating their phone.
They are more likely to take your concerns seriously if they are not bombarded with a list of them.
4. Don’t let yourself get discouraged
Sometimes the only control that you can have over the situation is how you react. Things will go wrong at times, regardless of your advice. The only responsibility you have is to be there in support when they need it.
5. Treat your aging parents like adults
Although it may feel like you have switched roles as child and parent sometimes, they are still your parents and want to be treated with respect. Pushing them into situations that they are not comfortable with will only drive a wedge between you. The most important thing is that your parents are getting the best care they can. From simple tasks, like taking their medications daily to harder tasks, like receiving treatment for diabetes.
6. Ask them to do thing for their children (or grandchildren)
We all know this tactic, probably a little too well. If there are any behaviors (such as smoking) that are negatively impacting a seniors health try to find common ground on how it is negatively affecting loved ones. Calmly communicate your worries and anxieties around the situation.
7. Find an outlet for your emotions
Find someone to confide in. Whether its your spouse, a friend, or a licensed professional, find someone to vent your feelings to. This will help you have a clearer mind when communicating with your parents and ultimately avoid outbreaks of emotions.
8. Plan ahead and stick to it
Even if your parents do not have Alzheimer’s or dementia, it eases most processes to plan ahead and set reminders. This gives them something to look forward to. Even if it’s something as small as meeting a friend for lunch in a few weeks, talk about it frequently and share excitement with them.
What do you do if your loved one ultimately refuse care?
Listen. Paying attention to your loved ones needs and taking advice from health professionals, you can make aging less stressful for everyone.