Elderly Parents – Why Don't They Let Me Help Them?


One of the reasons that it is so difficult to care for your aging parent is that they often times refuse you help. This is so frustrating! All you want to do is to help them and they act like an irrational child! Your reaction causes them to get upset which causes you to get even more upset..... Until you both are frustrated, upset, and hurt.

What every child and caretaker who take care of elderly people has to realize is that they are not necessarily trying to be difficult, trying to upset you, and their behavior might not be irrational. It's just that old age effects their communication skills and their bizarre behavior is only their attempt to communicate to you something very important.

In this article I will present 5 common frustrating and seemingly irrational behaviors and what they might mean.

1) They make excuses not to attend family events (something that they used to enjoy doing): Investigate if it is something physical that bothers them; too much noise, harsh smells, or maybe it is too hot or cold for them.

2) They resist doing things that they always liked. Like playing cards, singing, or dancing. This could be a sign of depression. The inability to do what he used to do is depressing. Irrational? Not at all

3)Won't get out of bed. This could be a sign that he simply doesn't feel well. Take his temperature and look for bruises. Remember elderly people are very fragile and bruise very easily.

4) Won't take his medicine. He might be experiencing some side effect. Check with your doctor or pharmacist what are some possible side effects of the medicine he stubbornly won't take and then check for these signs.

5) Won't bathe. This could be simply that he is afraid or not able to go into the bath and is very embarrassed to ask for help. He therefore thinks of all types of excuses why he doesn't need the bath.

When you realize that they are not "out to get you" but it is there disability that causes them to act like they do you will stay calmer and it will much easier for you to continue to take care of your elderly parent.

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1 Response

  1. Dear Guest, A Very difficult time, when this break down in communication occurs, try a professional counselor who specializes in this area. It can make a world of difference.
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