One major source of stress for children of elderly parents is them refusing care. They could be refusing it for a variety of reasons. This can lead to conflict between parent and child thus creating more stress. The way you approach this conversation is important. Below are some tips for navigating this tricky subject.

Remember empathy: Losing faculties and getting older can be scary for some people. For many, they fear a loss of independence. Understanding their feelings will make it easier to address them.

Discuss things beforehand: Having an open dialogue about possible caregiving measures for situations can make the transition easier. By talking beforehand, your parent will have already been thinking about it and coming to some acceptance of the possibility.

Give them options: As stated before, one major motivating factor behind most refusals is fear of loss of independence. When making plans, make sure they are involved. Give them options when deciding to schedule appointments, what doctors to go to, or what services to use. Don’t unilaterally decide for them.

If they continue to refuse care, you might just have to accept it for the time being. If they are still mostly fine physically and mentally, there’s nothing you can really do. If they have clear physical or mental impairments, you might have to see about getting guardianship over them. But that is a last resort for dire situations. Most of the time, it won’t have to come to that. It just takes time and patience to get through to them.

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