How to Help Seniors Accept Help From Others

daughter helping senior mother with paperwork

There are a number of reasons why many seniors are reluctant to accept help, even when they urgently need it. They may be suspicious and misinterpret your offer of help, as wanting to move them into a nursing home. Many also fear the loss of privacy.

More so, a great many seniors fear the loss of independence, in some cases even more than they fear death itself. In many cases, pride gets in the way of asking for help when they need it, as most seniors grew up in an environment where self-sufficiency was paramount. It’s also true that some seniors could be experiencing a level of dementia or cognitive issues, which interfere with good judgment, and cause them to refuse help, or to not recognize that it’s needed.

Seniors who refuse help/assistance can still be effectively assisted, and the key is in how to approach seniors who need help. Caring for seniors is all about understanding their perspective, so you can disarm their natural fears and make them see that you are legitimately trying to help them.

Approaching and talking to seniors

Helping seniors is much more effective if you’re aware of how to approach them and how to talk to them. It’s important that you let them know about your personal reasons for being concerned about them, and you should explain why they need the assistance you are offering. Try to find the specific reasons they are refusing assistance, and then address those issues. By taking the time to understand what their concerns are, you’ll probably be much more effective in helping them, and they’ll feel better about accepting your assistance.

How you should handle it

You should keep in mind that your elderly loved ones are adults and not children, so you should treat them accordingly. If the issue you’re trying to help with is important, such as their health, then you’ll have to press the issue. However, if it’s just an annoyance and something that doesn’t require effort on their part, it might be better to let it go. The old saying about picking your battles is a good one in this case, and you should avoid getting into the habit of bugging them about everything, or they may tune you out entirely.

Don’t allow negative feelings and frustration to build up inside you, so it spills out onto your loved ones, frustrating them as well. Find an outlet to release your stress, such as confiding in a friend or acquaintance. Keep in mind aging is often a difficult process, especially those who are experiencing mental health issues.

Show empathy and understanding

Try to understand how your loved one might be feeling, and remember their independence is generally very important to them. When you can understand where your elderly parents are coming from, you’ll be much better equipped to break down barriers and provide them with the assistance they really need.


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