Last Updated: July 8, 2024

Overview of Seniors Refusing Help

If your aging parent is refusing your help with managing their medications, setting up in-home care, or getting to appointments, you are not alone.

When the need for additional support or senior living arises, many seniors react with hesitance or reluctance to take the first step. This can make it difficult for a senior’s adult children or other loved ones to get the senior the care and support they need.

There are many reasons why this reluctance often occurs, most of which have to do with fear of the unknown. However, this hesitancy is not insurmountable. With the right strategies, approaches, and sometimes interventions from professionals, you can get through to your senior loved one to help improve their quality of life.

Reasons Why Seniors are Reluctant to Accept Help

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Recent research from Northwestern Medicine suggests there are numerous reasons why seniors can be hesitant to accept help when it comes to aging. Some of the reasons are as follows:

  • Fear of losing independence

Seniors may feel that by accepting help, they are giving up their abilities to live independently and complete tasks on their own – such as driving, cleaning, or activities of daily living like dressing and grooming.

  • Fear of becoming a burden

Seniors often feel like a hindrance to others if they require help. This desire to not be a burden prevents many seniors from seeking out or accepting help when they need it.

  • Lack of trust

Many seniors are hesitant to trust people in their lives with important matters related to aging. For example, they may fear that someone will immediately make them move to a senior living community without considering all the options. They may also worry that their home and financial assets will be misused by others.

  • Fear of giving up control

It is natural to desire a sense of control over your own life. Thus, seniors may fear that accepting help will relinquish all of their control and that their wishes may not be carried out as they want.

How to Help a Senior who is Reluctant to Accept Help

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Some ways to help a senior in your life cope with change and accept help include:

  • Discuss the true meaning of independence

Researchers suggest shifting the conversation to be less about independence and more about interdependence. No one is fully independent – everyone relies on others in different ways. Thus, emphasizing interdependence rather than the loss of independence is one way to help seniors embrace change and accept help.

  • Emphasize the positive impact on others

Seniors may think they will be a burden to their loved ones if they accept their help; however, the opposite is usually true. By accepting help from family and friends, the senior is actually helping that person in return. This way, loved ones do not have to constantly worry about the senior’s safety and well-being. Overall, accepting help provides peace of mind to family and friends, which is always beneficial to everyone involved.

  • Accept that the initial ask is hardest

When approached by a loved one about concerns or worries for the first time, a senior might feel surprised, unprepared for the conversation, or even defensive. This is normal – and it does not mean they will feel this way forever. Family members should gently bring up small steps they can take together toward a safer and higher quality of life, whether it be aging in place or at a senior living community. Do not take a confrontational approach; instead, be gentle, positive, encouraging, and affirming that everyone wants the best for them.

  • Reframe situations from negative to positive

Sometimes the way we word things can make or break how a senior receives it. It is important to choose your words carefully when having discussions with an aging parent. Avoid focusing on the senior’s weaknesses and what they should not be doing, and instead turn the situation around to point out the positives. 

For example, instead of just telling a senior they are “too old” to drive to the store, reframe the situation by offering to drive them and then going to get coffee together afterward. Or, instead of listing the reasons why they cannot live at home anymore, reframe the situation by focusing on all the help, care, and opportunities available for them in a senior living community. 

Emphasizing their values – such as independence or a sense of purpose – is the best way to engage in these difficult conversations.  

  • Help seniors prepare for the future as much as possible

Fear of the unknown and losing control is common for seniors as they age, and contribute to a senior’s resistance to accepting help. Thus, helping your senior loved ones get their affairs in order and wishes documented before they need it is one way to reduce the uncertainty of the future. Some ways to help include setting up durable powers of attorney, living wills, and preferences for end-of-life care. If they do not want help with these matters from family and friends, enlisting a professional elder law attorney may be a good option.

Intervention from Senior Care Professionals

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When you have tried all of the above suggestions and are still having trouble getting through to your aging loved one, it might be time to involve a professional, such as a doctor, elder law attorney, or a senior living advisor. 

Enlisting a professional such as a senior living advisor can help in many ways. Not only are they experts on senior care, but they will also break down the process into digestible pieces and make it less overwhelming. 

If those reasons are not enough to convince your loved one, inform them that senior living advisors usually offer their senior living services for free. That way the senior will know they have nothing to lose – and plenty to gain – from accepting this kind of help. 

Senior Living Advisors in Florida

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If you want to find the best of the best senior living advisors in Florida, work with Florida Senior Consulting Advisors. Our experts have years of experience in the senior care field and are familiar with all the best communities in the state.

We advise seniors on their options but never force their decision. 

We also help seniors implement their decision from start to finish – from packing to moving to unpacking to settling in. We will even advocate for our seniors’ care after they move in and check in with them often to make sure they have a positive experience.

Best of all, our senior living placement services are at no cost to seniors or their families.

Simplify your life and start enjoying your golden years with Florida Senior Consulting Advisors. Call our expert senior advisors at (800) 969-7176 or visit today for a free consultation.

Senior living on your terms. The choice should be yours.

Contact Florida Senior Consulting

(800) 969-7176