What To Do When Your Loved One Refuses Care: 5 Communication Tips

Whether you are an adult child caring for your elderly parent(s) or a spouse caring for your husband or wife, communication issues can ruin relationships and tear apart families. If you’re struggling with what to do when your loved one refuses care, you are not alone.  

Nearly 1 out of every 5 Americans is currently providing care to a loved one and most of them are struggling with this exact same issue. As the primary caregiver for a loved one, you need a break. In fact, you deserve a break!! However, it can be hard to get your loved ones to accept help from others.  

Hopefully, these 5 communication tips can help you both get on the same page.    

  1. Accept the Situation (the hardest part) – First, it is important to take a deep breath, step back for a moment and accept the reality that your aging parent(s) or spouse needs help now. Sometimes the hardest part of this process is letting go and realizing your loved one’s health is beginning to decline physically, cognitively, or both.  This is the perfect time to find a support group and surround yourself with others who are familiar with this process and understand what you are going through.  
  1. Understand their Motives – Aging is a very difficult process and is completely different for everyone. As people get older, they may begin to develop memory loss, become anxious or struggle with depression and loneliness. These factors may be caused by a variety of reasons such as dementia, loss of independence, fear of death, and much more. Therefore, it is important to understand why they are resistant to help.  What are they fearful of? Do they think you are trying to take away their independence? Have they always acted in this way? Is it their personality type? Have they been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or another type of dementia? It’s important to understand the root cause of their behavior.  
  1. Show Respect – Whether they are your aging parent(s) or your spouse, it is important to treat them like adults. Show them the same respect you did as a child or as a supportive spouse. It’s important not to treat elderly parent(s) or spouses like they are children (even if they may act like it at times.)
  1. Choose Your Battles – As much as you’d like to control and oversee all aspects of your loved one’s care, just make a list of the top 5 issues important to you and just focus on them. Let the rest go for now. If they don’t do everything, you’d like them to, it’s okay! Focus on the top priorities such as safety and let go of whether or not they finished the dinner you made them. 
  1. Involve them in Future Plans – This can be the hardest part but if you find a way to win them over and get them involved in the planning process, they may be more open-minded to receiving help in the future. Is there an upcoming family celebration (wedding, graduation, baby shower, etc.)? If so, get them a calendar they can put the date on. Share in the excitement with them. Bring it up and talk to them about it frequently. Make them feel involved.  

If you are caring for your mom, dad, spouse, or a loved one, we are here to help! Explore the ActivAge website to learn about your options. Receive a FREE copy of Florida’s 5-Step Guide to Senior Care by simply calling our senior care expert hotline at 941-676-3411. 

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