Elderly parents who are very resistant to any of your well-intended help may be among the ones who need it most. It’s very common for senior adults to insist they are “just fine, thank you” at managing their daily lives even if it is evident they’re in need of some level of assistance to remain independent.
How do you encourage a resistant parent to receive some extra help that would improve their quality of life and well-being? Here is the first of our three well-experienced blog posts on the topic:
Step 1: Stop Accusing and Start Listening
Curb your own accusatory insistence that your elderly parents aren’t doing a good enough job of caring for themselves, so help is needed. Stop pointing out the obvious things they’re doing incorrectly or inappropriately in a way that is accusatory. “Mom, you’re still wearing the same outfit you’ve had on all week, when are you going to change into something clean?” Or “Dad, why did you leave the front door unlocked again?”
We think that pointing out mistakes will bring them to realize their mistakes and then make future steps to change them. Wrong. It may make them feel frustrated, embarrassed, helpless and isolated. Chances are they’ll be less likely to ask you for help when they truly need it, lest they give you another chance to degrade them. This type of accusatory talking is only going to push you further away from getting their acceptance of help, and you may not even realize you’re sabotaging your own goals.
Imagine yourselves in their slippers. They’re aging, they realize all too well that time is limited. Their bodies are changing noticeably and so are their abilities, and it is out of their control. They have all the change they can deal with! Good news is that changing your approach is something you can do.
Listen to yourself. What do your words, facial expressions and body language say to or about them? Are you using an accusatory tone? By being a trusting companion you can start to truly help them and open the communicative paths needed to transition into homecare help.
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