When Seniors Refuse Care | Senior Helpers of Sacramento and Placer County
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What do You do When Seniors Refuse Care?

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Age sneaks up on all of us at some point in time, and not everyone likes making changes to their daily routine. Many aging parents are often in denial that there is a problem at all. So, this burden of recognizing the signs falls onto the shoulders of the family. 

Imagine this situation: Your elderly father lives alone. Lately, you’ve noticed that he seems to be having trouble. Maybe the bills are piling up, his usually clean house is cluttered, and he is forgetting to pick up his medicines. You can obviously see that he needs help, but when you try to find the opportunity to bring it up, he always changes the subject. In other cases, he claims that he is perfectly capable of taking care of himself. How are you supposed to get care for someone who is insisting that he doesn’t need it? If this is a question you are asking yourself, it is important to remember that you are not alone.

Hiring inside the home is not the number one choice that an aging parent will agree to even though they want to remain in their home. You will often find that your mom or dad will express to you that they are able to manage on their own and refuse any outside help. Be sensitive to their fears and concerns when you approach the topic of getting them extra help. Many seniors see hiring a caregiver as a threat to their independence, and they can be reluctant to trust someone that they don’t know to enter into the privacy of their home. Here are some suggestions on how to approach your loved one about this sensitive topic.

  1. The first step is to make sure your aging loved one feel confident and in control of the situation. No one enjoys feeling powerless, especially when it comes to their own life decisions. If your loved one feels as if he or she is losing their independence by accepting in home elder services, it is important to make the idea of accepting help come from them directly. You could present options to them, or start with something small, such as suggesting that they could save themselves time and have someone else pick up their medicine or grocery shop for them. This will help them feel more in control, and allow you to get a caregiver’s foot in the door to start helping.

  2. The next step is to really understand what your aging loved one’s main concerns are about hiring elder care services. The best way to understand why your loved one is refusing care is to get to the bottom of her fears. Remember to be respectful of all of their concerns no matter how trivial they may seem to you and the rest of the family. If they are concerned about the cost and quality of caregivers then make sure to go online with them and explore each viable option with them so they feel confident in their decision.

  3. The best way to get a caregiver in the house for the first time might be by suggesting that they help with household chores and errands rather than hands on services. You can stress the importance of getting help with heavy duty housework like laundry and vacuuming, as well as help with grocery shopping and getting to and from appointments. This is especially important when they cannot drive anymore - that way it will allow them to come to the decision on their own. This is seen as less threatening and also allows the loved one to get to know the caregiver and potentially allow for a foundation of trust to be established between the two.

  4. This is the part where you voice your concerns to your aging loved one. The best way to get your parent or family member to open up to you is by being equally as open. You can express to them that it would ease your mind knowing that they had some extra help throughout the week. Let them know that you enjoy spending time with them and helping them, but that there aren’t enough hours in the day to come every day during the week. People who are resistant to care tend to accept elderly care services to avoid being a burden to their family and friends.

  5. If your loved one is living with you or alone, and you are the main caregiver, you can focus on the fact that it would help you out having home care assistance to give you a break and peace of mind. With in-home care services, you could suggest that it would alleviate concerns about activities of everyday living. This could range from daily household chores to bathing and personal care. Ultimately, it would give you more time to manage other responsibilities while still having the peace of mind that your loved one is safe while you’re away.

  6. When the above steps still don’t work, it might be a good idea to bring in some backup. The relationship you have as a child and caregiver might be hindering their ability to accept help, it is important to not take their resistance personally. Find an individual that your loved one respects; for example, a doctor, a friend, or even a member of your church. They might be more willing to accept advice from an outside source rather than yourself. If that doesn’t work out, you could always seek advice from a trusted professional that you know your parents have a high respect for. It is important to remain patient when introducing the idea of extra care to your loved one.


Do you need some help convincing your loved one to accept care? If you’re feeling overwhelmed or you might not even know how to start the conversation our senior care specialists are more than willing to help your family. Our staff has years of experience helping families get their loved one the care they need. Call us today to schedule a meeting so we can get the conversation started between you and your loved one.

Senior Helpers – Sacramento/Placer provides compassionate caregivers to help our local seniors with day-to-day tasks such as housekeeping, meal prep/planning, and transportation as well as providing assistance with bathing, dressing, medication reminders and more. Our mission is to improve the life of seniors and help relieve the burden on their families. If your loved one lives in Sacramento or the surrounding areas (Roseville/Rocklin, Folsom, Rancho Cordova, Elk Grove) and you would like more information, please call us at 916-671-5777 or click the Contact Us link at the top of this page.