March 7, 2023 by Dean Bellefeuille

caregiver talking with senior

When you start to detect the warning signs that senior care help for parents is needed, very often, an elderly parent won’t accept help. After all, acknowledging the need for help isn’t easy, especially for somebody who appreciates their independence and privacy. Yet, what do you do when another member of the family is the one pushing back? If you’ve come to an impasse within your family about the need for senior care, there is one very likely culprit that may be in play: denial.

Why Would a Sibling Deny the Need for Senior Care for Parents?

Denial is a coping mechanism employed to protect against feelings of helplessness or fear of an upcoming change. It may be that your family member may be more comfortable sticking their head in the sand in order to maintain status quo. Or, they may not be as familiar with the day-to-day care needs as you are, so they’re not seeing the same concerns.

Regardless of the cause for the denial, there are many strategies that will help you see eye to eye and be certain the person you both love receives the necessary support and care.

  1. Educate. Rather than arguing from your perspective, turn to trusted resources to validate your opinion. Research information on the progression of a particular health issue the older adult is experiencing. Learn together about the challenges of getting older, the risk of falls at home and in the community, when it might be time to give up the car keys, etc., and use that education as the jumping-off point for a conversation on how to ensure safety and comfort for the older adult.
  2. Listen. Communication is a two-way street, so be sure to listen at least as much as you’re presenting your personal concerns and thoughts. Acknowledge and validate his or her feelings. Try to keep the conversation calm and on an even keel. Feelings of frustration are expected, but try to avoid expressing anger, sarcasm, or comments you might regret later.
  3. Reinforce. Enlist the help of a third-party professional to reinforce the value and benefits of home care in your particular situation. Make an appointment to talk to the senior’s doctor together. At times, hearing firsthand information from a healthcare expert is all that is needed to help a family member in denial change their viewpoint.

Also, bear in mind that it may be helpful to start home care services gradually and build up to more services over time. For example, At Home Independent Living can begin with preparing meals, light housekeeping, running errands or providing transportation initially. As the caregiver and your family member form a bond of trust and companionship, the benefits of home care services will become more apparent. From that point, it is typically easy to adapt a long-term care plan, or simply add tasks to the plan of care, for example, assistance with bathing and personal care needs when the time is right.

When you are ready to explore options for independent living, home health care, or care management for someone you love, we are here to talk with you and your family about the benefits of these personalized services and to answer any questions you may have. We can address concerns a family member is feeling about starting home care services during a free consultation, right in the comfort of home.

Get in touch with the senior care professionals from At Home Independent Living at (315) 579-HOME (4663) to find out more or schedule a free in-home consultation. Please see our full service area.