When Seniors Don't Want Assistance at Home

senior lady in wheelchair

Do you have a loved one who needs senior assistance at home but they are in denial? This is a common problem. Aging loved ones may slowly need more help with things that were once a normal part of life. Oftentimes home care services are needed for a loved one after an injury or illness. The unfortunate traumatic event often helps them accept the needed care but this is not always the case. No one wants to give up their independence. Many seniors feel like they would burden their family, they feel they are the “parent” and should be taking care of their children, not the other way around. They do not want to be a burden on anyone, especially their own grown children.

Family is often the first to notice signs of a loved one needing assistance. There might be signs such as, the house becoming more cluttered and dirty, instant foods replacing home cooking, and personal care and hygiene declining. When these changes happen slowly, they may go unnoticed by family. An intentional checklist to determine if help is needed should be done regularly, as aging loved ones may be in denial.

Denying, even covering up and hiding any signs of needing help, is common amongst seniors. Who wants to be dependent upon others for help? We have been to Senior Centers presenting our services where one senior looks at another suggesting that it may be a good idea for “them”, but never for themselves. It is somewhat comical to see the argument ensue regarding who needs care and who doesn’t. We have provided homecare services in homes with elderly couples. In order to get them to accept the care in the beginning the family would say to their mom, “this is to help Dad”, and they would say to Dad, “this is to help Mom”. This may sound humorous, but it can be dangerous. If your elderly loved ones need help yet will not accept it, it could result in a fall, injury, or unnoticed illness. After an injury or illness seniors may never have full independence again. Even family may think that help is only needed temporarily. Some may believe they will walk again, when being wheelchair bound is a permanent reality.

Accepting long term care as the new normal takes time, patience, love, and care. As a family member, you can offer offer these types of support. Other things you can do include:

  • Speaking gently to them, It's often 'how' things are said can that make a difference.
  • Take time to listen and understand their reason.
  • Treat them as adults. Many people treat seniors as they treat children. This can be demeaning.

Denial is not only an issue with our aging loved ones; family members need to accept when assistance is needed as well, sometimes this too takes time. If you think your aging relatives need assistance at home, and they are reluctant, give us a call to discuss this with one of our Care Managers. We have dealt with reluctant seniors on numerous occasions and there is often a simple solution. 

Our number is (603) 473-2510