This is common. Many parents are quite independent. They want to do things on their own for as long as they are moving around. The problem is that for some people, there comes a time when moving around and doing tasks that were easy before become more difficult. Even so, many seniors do not want the help. They feel like if they give up one thing, they will have to give up something else. While you know that probably isn’t the case, your parent is fearful. Understanding how to help your elderly parents who don’t want help can make this situation much better for you and your mom/dad.
When you are with your parent and you see he/she is struggling, you can offer to help. You may say, “Can I do anything for you?” or “Would you like me to get that pan for you?”
The most important part of asking is to make sure you don’t point out he/she can’t do something. You are merely helping, not doing.
Help before It’s Needed
You don’t have to say anything to help your loved one. You can simply just do it. For example, if you know your parent has a hard time cooking, bring over a meal. Don’t say anything about him/her not being able to cook, just do it as if it was something nice you wanted to do. If you see the kitchen needs a good wipe down, go ahead and do it while you’re talking to him/her. These little tasks you do may not seem like much, but they are helpful and appreciated as long as it doesn’t seem you are doing it because he/she can’t do it.
Back Off When Asked
There will be times when you’ll overstep your boundaries, but don’t worry, your parent will likely tell you quickly. Don’t argue about it, but instead, just take a step back. If you need to, supervise what he/she is doing. This will keep your parent safe because you can always take over if something terrible happens. Just don’t jump too early because you’re nervous something is about to happen.
Understand You May Not Get a Thank You
You may not get a thank you. Helping elderly parents who don’t want help means you’ll be doing something they don’t want to do. Even if they know they can’t do it, it still doesn’t feel good for them. Understand that this has nothing to do with you. It’s just hard for them to accept. Thank and reward yourself as you care for your parent and there may be a time you may hear those two magic words.
Need Some More Help?
If you need some more help with this situation, please book a session with personal consultant Kendall Van Blarcom. He has a patient ear and will help you come up with ways to help your parents even when they don’t want the help.
If you’re a senior citizen who doesn’t want help, but your daughter/son wants to help, you are invited to contact Kendall as well. He can help you work with your daughter/son to preserve the relationship.