Tips to help overcome Parental Resistance to Care:
Inconceivable as it may sound, changing your perspective toward your parents resistance to care can
bring about a much-needed adjustment in how you approach your parents on this issue.
Taking into account the reasons discussed in our previous article Parental Resistance to Care Part I
may help you begin to tease apart some of the issues that may be preventing your parent from receiving
much-needed care. Attempt to view the situation of receiving care from your parent’s perspective. You
at circumstances or conditions do they ever see themselves needing care; who do they feel should be responsible for providing care and why? Having these casual yet critical conversations can help you gauge what exactly receiving care means to your aging parents and what, if any, help would they be open to accept. The key is having these conversations gradually and introducing them in a non-threatening manner.
For example you may want to learn how they provided care for others who were elderly in the family and gently move forward from there. Have these conversations while doing something pleasant with your senior loved one and present them in a non-rushed, relaxed manner. Encourage your parent to talk openly and listen in the same spirit. Invite your parent to view the issues of care from your perspective. If providing some level of care has been an ongoing issue or lengthy argument suddenly having a friendly conversation with your parents may not be possible. In this be the case alter your mode of communication. Instead of verbalizing your concerns, as you may have in the past, writing a gently
worded and caring letter may be a more viable option. This letter should highlight only a few
of your concerns and focus instead on how these fears are impacting your peace of mind. If you have a number of concerns only write about the most pertinent or immediate ones. If you keep listing their
challenges, as you see them, your letter will likely overwhelm them and cause them to shut down the communication process.
Choose your battles: Make a list of the challenges you find your parent encountering right now and
prioritize their importance. Ask yourself are there some issues that can be let alone, such as behaviors
or difficulties that are not causing harm to self-others? Trying to take care of a lot of your parents
concerns can be threatening and be seen as unwelcome interference, especially when offered all at
once. If there are behaviors that can cause harm to self and/or others then those are the first problems
to address (i.e) a parent driving unsafely due to impaired hearing, vision or dementia.
Making a list where you prioritize your parents issues and concerns can also be helpful for you as the
family caregiver. You can visually see what problems or concerns need to be handled first and which
can wait. This can offer you some breathing room and allow you time to plan how you will introduce
possible care gently into your resistant parent’s life.
To recap then, getting a resistant parent to accept care requires the adult child to change their approach.
This involves investigating and exploring the reasons why the elderly parent is resistant. To do this it is
helpful to view the situation entirely from the parent’s perspective as objectively as possible. Then
communicate your issues and perspective of the situation to your parent(s) in a gentle way, such as
through a letter. Finally, it is important to choose your battles. If your parent still is resistant to receiving
care or help, pick some areas that they can agree to have a little help, while retaining as much
independence as possible. Handle those areas that involve their health and safety first, then gradually
move on to other issues. Our next article will offer further tips and information on how to cope with a
parent whose resistant to care so please stay tune.