Help (Not) Wanted 5 Strategies to Help Counter a Senior’s Resistance to Assistance

by Lois Etienne on September 1, 2010

in Caregiver Support

Following are strategies from Home Instead Senior Care® and family caregiving consultant Dr. Amy D’Aprix to help family caregivers turn resistance into assistance.

1.   Understand where the resistance is coming from. Ask your parent why he or she is resisting.  “Mom, I notice that every time I bring up the idea of someone coming in to help, you resist it.  Why is that?” Oftentimes older adults don’t realize they are being resistant.

2.  Explain your goals. Remind your loved one that you both want the same thing.  Explain that a little extra help can keep her at home longer and will help put your mind at ease as well.  Have a candid conversation with him about the impact this care is having on your life.  Oftentimes seniors don’t understand the time commitment of a caregiver.

Daughter-Discussing_Senior-Care-with-Father3.  Bring in outside help. If a relationship with a parent is deteriorating, ask a professional, such as a geriatric care manager, for an assessment.  A third-party professional can provide valuable input.  If you are having problems getting through to your older adult, consider asking another family member or close friend to intervene.  If you’re not making headway, perhaps there’s someone better to talk with your parents.

4.  Research your options to find the best resources for your loved one. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging or a geriatric care manager to research resources in your community.  Or go to and click on the resources tab for The Home Care Solution, a guide for family caregivers to help them find the best in-home care for their loved ones.  If you decide outside help is needed, reassure your parents and tell them you have researched caregivers and you are confident you have found the best one you can find to come into the home to help.

5.  Respect your parent’s decisions. Sometimes you won’t agree with your parent’s decisions and that’s O.K.  As long as your loved one is of sound mind, he or she should have the final say.  

A note:  If your senior has dementia, seek professional assistance from a doctor or geriatric care manager.  Logic often will not work and other strategies must be employed.

For more information or to get answers to your questions, please contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office.  We can be reached — anytime day or night – by calling Spokane509.835.5898North King/Snohomish Counties: 425.670.2292 or South King/Pierce Counties253.943.1603. You can also email us at

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