How to Talk to an Older Adult Who Refuses Care

How to talk to older adult
Two People Standing in Forest

“A Stranger in My House? No Way!”

For many older adults, the thought of a “stranger” coming into their home to help with laundry, dishes, coordinating meals, or transportation can at first be difficult to accept. It might mean them giving up some level of privacy and independence. Sometimes they’ll think additional help won’t make much of a difference in their life.

So how can you bring up the subject of in home care for your loved one with respect and kindness? Here are eight strategies you can use to navigate tough conversations if there is resistance.


Grandmother and Grandfather Holding Child on Their Lap

1. Be prepared

Before attempting to talk to your loved one about getting help at home, do your research. Talk to friends or family who have been through a similar situation. Do some concentrated research in order to understand what the care options are. You’re even welcome to speak with a representative from Superior Senior Home Care for guidance and input.

The more information you have, the more prepared you are to answer questions and concerns that are likely to arise.

2. Normalize aging and the need for care

Normalizing the fact that aging brings with it some limitations, and that help at home will eventually be necessary for all of us. Recognize that accepting care can be difficult, but remind them needing it is completely normal.

3.Address fears and concerns

Your loved one is resistant to care for a reason. Listen closely, ask questions, and try to understand what is emotionally at stake. Let them know that you care deeply, and show that you are doing your best to understand and to address their concerns.

This is a huge emotional, mental and physical change for them and one that may not initially be well received. It can be talked through together or with a therapist to work in understanding and validating everyone’s emotions.

4. Focus on the positive

Highlight the benefits that care will bring them. Point out that hiring a caregiver to help with errands and housekeeping will free up their time for a favorite hobby or activity.

It can also help to remind your loved one that getting care now may help prevent a fall or other health crises in the future. Home Care is not just for those who need help around the clock. Hiring a caregiver just a few hours per week can help seniors remain independent in their own homes for longer.

5. Share your concerns

If your loved one does not see how care will benefit them, explain that if they accept help in the home, they will also be helping you. Perhaps you are worried about their safety or well-being. Tell them how important peace of mind is for you since you’re unable to be there for them as much as you’d like to be.

6. Start small

If needed, agree to test out home care on a trial basis. Introducing care incrementally can help mitigate fears of receiving help from a caregiver. Giving them the option to open up to the possibility of more or longer-term care in the future.

Start with hiring a caregiver for a few hours per week, to help with transportation and errands, or for a short-term period after an illness. Slowly increase caregiver hours as needed while you bring your loved one on board.

7. Stick with it

Though the process of talking to an older adult who refuses care may be frustrating, be patient. Remember that it may take several conversations about the topic before your loved one is receptive to care, or until you can agree on a plan of action.

Think of how you would feel in the situation and remember they are a person besides your parents. They’ll have their own emotions and fears to work through and your love, support, and patience will save you both a lot of time and frustration.

8. Bring in a professional

It can really help to bring in a professional who will help explain why care will be beneficial. Superior Senior Home Care are experts at facilitating these kinds of conversations and are able to provide a family consultation to help you and your loved one navigate care decisions.


Superior Senior Home Care
, providers of the in home care San Luis Obispo families trust, offers a complimentary consultation with an advisor to help you determine your loved one’s home care needs. To schedule your free consultation, call 805.430.8767 or contact us online.

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