When Your Loved One Resists Care

resist careWhat can you do when you see that a loved one needs care, but they will not accept help?

How can you encourage someone to accept assistance?

These tips may help.

Involve the person in decisions.

  • Approach the person with respect. If at all possible, the person should still be in charge of his or her care. Your role may be to facilitate decisions rather than to make them.
  • Watch for openings in the conversation. For example, “You mentioned feeling tired. Are you having trouble keeping up with your chores?”
  • If the person doesn’t think he or she needs help, give examples of instances that have caused you concern .

Present options.

  • A person may feel more empowered – and more likely to accept help – if he or she has options.
  • For example, a person who can no longer keep up a big house might choose to hire someone to help with the chores, only us a portion of the home (for example, just living in the downstairs), or move to a smaller space.
  • A person who needs daily care might choose to have a care giver come into the home, move in with a relative or go to an assisted – living home

Talk about your needs too.

  • Sometimes people will not accept care on their own behalf but will accept it if they believe it will lessen their family’s burden.
  • Say, “If I know you are cared for , it will ease my worry” or “I’m sure you could do it yourself, but it would make me feel good to do it for you.”

Ask the person about concerns over accepting care.

  • It may be easier to find solutions if you know the reasons for the person’s resistance.
  • Acknowledge all concerns – they are very real for that person .
  • Some of the common reasons people resist care include:

» Not wanting to give up their independence.

» Being afraid of strangers coming into their home.

» Feeling that the care would be too expensive.

» Not wanting to burden others.

When can a person no longer make decisions about his or her care?

  • Some of the signs that indicate a person is unable to make decisions include:

» Not eating, bathing, or providing basic self care.
» Not paying bills or answeri ng mail.
» Doing dangerous things like leaving stove burners on.
» Showing sympt oms of memory loss or confusion. You may be able to start providing help during an illness or following a hospitalization. All of these signs are subjective. Ask the person’s doc tor to help you evaluate his or her ability to make decisions.

If the person still refuses care.

  • If the person’s health or safety is at risk, say gently but firmly, “We have to address this. We can’t put it off any longer.”
  • Bring in other people. Call a family meeting to strategies how to help the person accept care
  • Ask the person’s doctor, clergy or another outside person to step in. Sometimes an outside person will have more influence.

Don’t give up.

  • Sometimes a person will refuse at first but over time may accept care.
  • Keep offering and providing what care the person will accept.
  • Take advantage of “windows of opportunity.” For example, you may be able to start providing help during an illness or following a hospitalization.

Take care of yourself.

  • Knowing that a person needs care but won’t accept it can be very difficult emotionally. Try not to take it personally. It is not your fault.
  • Consider talking about the situation with supportive friends, family members or a counselor. Consider joining a caregiver support group .

How will you know when to insist on providing care for a loved one who resists help? If you are unsure, ask a health care professional. If the person’s health or safety is in danger, consider contacting your local social services office or A dult Protective Services for assistance.

To find information about social and support services in your area , consult your local phone book. Or call the Eldercare Locator at 1 – 800 – 677 – 11 16, or visit their website at Eldercare


We at Premier Care Nurses of America know that referrals from your friends, family, neighbors, associates and colleagues are the sin cerest form of flattery. We appreciate your business and hope that you will pass along our name and number to anyone who you think may benefit from quality home care services

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