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Helping when they refuse help

What do you do to help an aging parent when they refuse help? We see this quite often and you may be dealing with us now. You may be in a situation where your parent clearly needs help but whenever you attempt to provide some assistance they either figuratively or literally push you away. You are trying your best to help and are wondering why they are being so difficult.

Think about it a minute from their perspective

Your parents have been taking care of their business their entire life and probably realize they are declining. They may even realize that they need help, which fact in and of itself may scare them. Their decline in physical or cognitive health may result in increasing dependence on you or others for things that they have always been able to do themselves. Honestly, they probably see handwriting on the wall and don’t like what that handwriting says . It most likely scares them to death.

Your parents have been independent and able to take care of themselves their whole lives. Now they know that they will be losing that independence, probably forever. They likely refuse help as a defense mechanism.

Worries about what could happen

You see that your loved one needs assistance. You are very worried about their physical or cognitive health.

  1. Fall Risk. You might be worried about what would happen if they fell while you were at work or away and were not able to get up.
  2. Cognitive Issues. If they have declining cognitive issues you may be worried about what would happen if they got out of the street and got hit by car
  3. Driving. What would happen if they tried to drive and not only hurt themselves but hurt someone else.
  4. Accidents in the Home. If they are at home you may be worried about what could happen. Like, what if they leave the stove on and catch the house on fire?
  5. Exercising poor judgment as a result of early dementia. What if they were to allow someone in the home that should not be there? They might make a poor decision as to some personal or business issue. Scammers love prey on the elderly, as it seems.

What Can You Do when they Refuse Help?

If this is resonating with you here a few things you may be able to do to improve the situation.

Ask mom or dad to set an appointment with their family physician

If you can go with them, you may be able to briefly discuss some of these things privately with the physician. He/She may give their input or assistance in talking to Mom or Dad about the matter. If the situation is dire enough you may have to have this discussion in their presence with the physician. The physician may order other tests to determine if there’s an issue with dementia or other cognitive issues. Also ,if your Mom and Dad are having physical challenges, the physician may be able to suggest things in the home that would be beneficial.

Family assistance

If any local family lives nearby, they may be able to arrange their schedule so as to visit more often. This will require coordinated effort and some method to share information, updates and suggestions between the different family members.

Schedule outside assistance

It may be necessary to try to schedule non-medical homecare coming in to assist a few hours a day. Your Mom and Dad may resist this outside assistance at first. But, a few hours a day may help a lot. The key is to carefully interview non-medical helpers together. That way you can get one in the house that your Mom and Dad actually like.

Many things can be done if they Refuse Help

A lot of times, taking the steps of having a Mom Centered Family Meeting will go a long way toward helping the family gather necessary information and pull together to come up with the best going forward plan for their Mom or Dad.

We wish you the best as you struggle to provide the best care for you at the declining parent in your life. Remember where they are coming from and try to have a kind but open meeting as to what you are seeing, your concerns and ways you would like to help.

At ELP, we work to protect you!

We work with people to do various types of estate planning. There is no one size fits all plan and no plan is categorically better than others. The key is to meet with your attorney (hopefully us!) to discuss your unique situation and have a plan crafted that is best for you. If you or your declining parent is not 100% sure of their beneficiary designations, please be proactive and give us a call before you (or they) lose capacity.

Without a properly flexible plan, how will you care for your declining Loved One, be there for your family, get work done, and pivot in the event of a crisis? What about cost? How will you pay for it all? If you make the Assisted Living Facility choice, how long will the money last? Together, we can craft a proactive plan! Lets get started protecting your assets!

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