For some aging adults, accepting help is one of the most difficult tasks they’ll ever face. Working out why that is for your elderly family member might feel like a massive challenge.
She Feels Just Well Enough
Often your elderly family member may express that she feels well enough to do some of the things you want to help her do. This might be true, but the reality is that she’s burning through a lot of time and energy that she could conserve for activities that she might enjoy a lot more. Try gently expressing it to her from that point of view.
Help Is Discouraging
Another roadblock is that when your senior starts to realize that she can’t do something or that it’s much more difficult now, she’s failing. Accepting help feels like a confirmation of that failure and she can find it to be really discouraging. One way to help with this is to remind her of all that she still can do.
She Feels Obligated to Do More
For many people, accepting help from other people is just difficult. Your elderly family member may feel as if she’s obligated to do her share or to pull her own weight. It’s okay for her to relax and to enjoy the help that she’s getting. There doesn’t have to be any sort of accounting and keeping track of how much she’s doing to help herself.
She’s Just Always Done These Things
Lots of things become a habit over years and decades. This is especially true with personal care tasks, cleaning, and cooking. Your senior may feel that these are tasks that she’s always done and therefore she should just always be the one to do them. That doesn’t mean that a little bit of help isn’t warranted.
Strangers Are Scary
Another angle is that your elderly family member may realize that help from you is incredibly beneficial. But that doesn’t mean that she’s as accepting of help from other people. Until she gets to know senior care providers, for instance, she might feel that they’re strangers and therefore scary. It can take time to win her over.
Eventually, you may be able to get through to your elderly family member. Remember to respect her boundaries, however. Just because some of her reasons don’t make sense to you, that doesn’t make them any less valid. Find solutions that are a compromise rather than something that she just has to accept, if possible.