Where Do I Start? Dealing with Your Loved One’s Resistance to Care

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Coming to the decision that it’s time for an elderly parent to go into an assisted living community is not an easy one. Not for the adult child, who has to admit that the person who symbolized strength for them since birth can no longer take care of himself or herself. Nor for the parent, whose lifetime of independence feels threatened.

Managing that passage from “Everything is fine” to “I’m willing to accept help” can be difficult, and it’s no wonder that parents can sometimes get resistant and angry along the way.

Understanding the source of their resistance and ways to overcome that can help adult children guide their parents toward accepting the help they need on their own terms.

Practice Empathy

There are a host of legitimate reasons that an aging parent might resist the idea of assisted living that have nothing to do with simply being stubborn.

If the parent recently lost a spouse who had been providing care, the idea of replacing that care might scratch at still-raw wounds of grief. Grief and anger might also be at issue if the loved one is coming to terms with the loss of ability from a sudden illness or injury.

The parent might also feel fear — fear of losing independence, privacy, or control over daily routines. Perhaps they feel guilty that their care will put a financial burden on their family.

There are times, however, especially in cases of dementia or other mental health concerns, the resistance might be less grounded.

Get Informed

If an adult child has a signed health care proxy or durable medical power of attorney from their parent, they can take it to the parent’s doctor and talk to them about the parent’s condition, ask them to evaluate the parent, and then attend the appointment.

Often, one of the biggest arguments in with resistive parents — and sympathetic siblings — is a disagreement about what their physical and mental limitations are. Having a professional weigh in on this subject can go a long way toward putting everyone on the same page and eliminating those arguments.

Be United

A unified front among the siblings sends a powerful message to the parent that the concerns for their welfare are well-founded. Likewise, active disagreement among siblings can significantly undermine the persuasiveness of an adult child’s argument.

Making decisions about the long-term care of an aging parent can present a minefield of potential family conflicts. No family is going to agree about every decision all the time, but taking the time to prepare and include each family member can reduce conflicts and help everyone work through them.

Another consideration is to approach important people in the parent’s life, such as a friend or spiritual adviser, and ask for their help. As a trusted third party, they might be able to help get the conversation started and keep it on track.

Start Small

Even when the message comes from a united, empathetic family, an elderly loved one might still resist the suggestion that it’s time for assisted living.

Rather than argue head-on, the Mayo Clinic has a list of ideas for how to ease an elderly loved one into accepting the idea.

  • Suggest a temporary stay. Choosing a care center is a big decision. Like with choosing a place to live in a brand-new town, it might be less stressful to rent at first rather than own. Ask them to try it out for a few days or a week to see if services, amenities, staff, and other residents are agreeable. This not only helps ease the reluctant parent into the decision but also helps the whole family make a more informed decision about which care center is the best fit for their loved one.
  • Use “I” statements. Adult children shouldn’t be afraid to tell your parent how their living situation affects them. If they’re in the “sandwich generation” and putting Mom or Dad in assisted living would make life more manageable, that’s OK to say. If worrying about their living alone is causing anxiety and distress, that should also be said.
  • Talk about money. Money generally ranks up there with religion and politics in terms of conversational taboos. In this case, however, it’s better to address the issue rather than leave it up to assumptions and implications. Some homework helps, too, such as knowing the different long-term care options available, how much they cost, what financial assets the family has available, and whether the loved one qualifies for Medicaid.

Older adults have spent decades trusting their own judgment, so adult children shouldn’t be discouraged if their first efforts at persuasion aren’t effective. Keep at it a loving, well-informed way, and you’re likely to see good results.

For more insights into the true costs of being a family caregiver, common family conflicts that can occur when caring for parents, and some of the unexpected challenges of caregiving, download our “11 Most Common Caregiving Challenges” eBook.

 

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    This guide will go over what you need to know before you make a decision.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    This guide will answer questions you may have about the costs of assisted living and recommend resources to help you pay for it.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    Often, many adult children avoid bringing it up because it can be a sensitive topic.

    This guide will provide you with helpful tips and insight on how to have a productive conversation with your parent and siblings regarding your parent’s future.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    This guide will provide you with skills and knowledge on how to handle difficult behaviors your aging parent may be experiencing.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    There are many questions to answer before making the decision to take care of a loved one.

    This guide will provide answers to questions you may have on this topic.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    How can you help? In this guide, you will be provided with answers to the difficult questions you may have about depression.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Has your aging parent recently lost interest in activities they used to enjoy? Have you noticed a change in their mood and behavior?

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    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    In this guide, you’ll find answers to the most common questions asked about assisted living.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Where do you start searching for assisted living or memory care communities?

    What qualities in a community should you look for? How do you know you made the right decision?


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    No one ever plans to be sick or disabled, and disasters, man-made or natural, can happen at any time, anywhere.

    Yet older adults are among the most vulnerable during a crisis. That’s why it’s critical that seniors, and those who care for them, prepare for emergencies.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    This guide provides tips and ideas on downsizing, what to pack and how to make the transition smooth for your senior parent.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    In this eBook, you’ll learn how to talk with family and friends about caregiving challenges, how to deal with a parent who is resistant to help, how to get more caregiving help from your siblings, and how to keep your job while caregiving.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    Have you stopped getting together with friends, either because you don’t have the time or you’re too exhausted? Are you becoming the invisible second patient?


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

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    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    In this guide, you’ll learn about common sibling conflicts that arise when caring for parents, strategies for getting siblings on board, and where to turn to for help.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    Assisted living can be a touchy subject. No matter how you approach it, your parent is likely to have objections to something.

    As you help them transition to a new stage of life, it helps to be prepared with answers to their questions and concerns.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


    A Guide to the Most Common Family Caregiver Challenges Associated with Caring for an Aging Parent.

    You’ll learn about the true costs of being a family caregiver, common family conflicts that can occur when caring for parents, and some of the unexpected challenges of caregiving.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    The list details what important questions to ask during your visit so you are able to make an enlightened choice and find the best assisted living community for your needs.


    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

    Instant Access to Free Guide


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    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

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    The Arbors / Ivy has been awarded 2023 Reader Raves Award as Best Assisted Living Community