8 Ways To Encourage Your Aging Parents To Seek Help: Communication Tips for a Better Relationship

It can be difficult when your aging parents are in denial about needing help. It is even hard to watch them struggle with everyday tasks. But, there are a few things you can do to encourage them to seek help before their health starts declining even more rapidly. This blog post will discuss eight ways to communicate with your aging parents for the relationship to stay healthy and strong.

Home health care worker and an elderly couple

Understand Their Motivations

There are typically two motivations for an aging parent to deny help. The first is a desire to maintain their independence and the second is fear of losing control or being embarrassed by caregivers if they have dementia. 

Their motivation may be one reason, but it’s not always the only explanation why they don’t want to accept outside assistance when it could improve their quality of life.

Discussing these motivations can sometimes make your parents more receptive to seeking help. This might allow them some space without feeling like they’re in denial about needing caregiving services, even though this isn’t necessarily true. 

The key is to convey that you understand their feelings while also gently nudging them in the direction of seeking help.  

Aging parents may be reluctant to seek help because they’re so used to being the ones in control. They don’t want people telling them what to do and how things should work for their house or family.

These feelings are understandable, but it doesn’t mean that you have to accept them as a fact of life. You can still find ways around these concerns by offering your opinion respectfully, making sure not to act like an authority figure. 

Ask Them To Do It for the Grandkids

If you’re struggling to convince your parents that they need help, it doesn’t hurt to remind them of what’s most important in their life. Chances are, if they don’t accept the offer for care today, they’ll eventually come around for the sake of their grandkids. 

Think about how much time and energy grandparents spend with their grandchildren – wouldn’t you do anything for them? So often, when a senior citizen is fearful or reluctant to seek out services like home care, one tactic is asking hypothetical questions concerning the grandkids, like how they’d feel if anything happened to their grandparents due to negligence.

This strategy can be pretty practical for some people as many seniors have complicated lives and want to avoid wasting time. So, should your aging parents fold to such questions, considering senior living options like La Posada could help you secure comfortable care and living on time.

If you can find a way to appeal to an aging parent’s sense of duty or responsibility, then the chances are that you’ll be more successful! 

Accept the Situation

“Parents often have a hard time accepting their aging,” says Dr Younger of the Mayo Clinic. It can be helpful to try and understand why they might resist seeking help – maybe it’s because they’re afraid of what will happen if you convince them, or they just don’t want to admit defeat. But, on the other hand, perhaps all this talk about getting old has made them feel confused or scared.

Dealing with an aging parent who is in denial can be frustrating and exhausting. But remember, this is their decision to live without help or caregiving assistance. You cannot force them into accepting the situation any more than you could have caused a toddler to stop throwing tantrums. 

So, accept that your parents live on their terms and do so for valid reasons even if it isn’t what you want. 

Choose Your Battles

The best way to encourage your aging parents to seek help when they are in denial is by choosing your battles. Please select the most important and urgent things you need them to do, then ask for those without tackling everything at once. It may be tempting to try and tell them what’s good for them but if you don’t want it all over town, keep these conversations private! You might have a hard time telling people exactly why you’re asking too much of them, or maybe they feel like their independence has been taken away from them. Since someone else is always asking what needs to be done next, go with the flow until their situation changes and they want more freedom again. 

Treat Them Like Adults

It’s crucial to treat your aging parents like adults. They are the best people for knowing what they need, and you might not always know it better than them. However, it can be hard at times because you might have expectations of how elderly folks should act or react, while in reality, there is no single set way that works for everyone. 

However, if this idea becomes too difficult, take a step back and try again later when you’re in a more understanding space. Asking questions may also get you closer to helping with their needs, but don’t push so much that they start feeling overwhelmed, leading to depression or stress. 

Again, communication is critical here- just make sure not to hover over someone who might need space.

Find an Outlet for Your Feelings

This might include talking about it in therapy if needed! It’s ok to feel angry at times; just don’t let anger overtake all other emotions so that there is no room for positivity. Permit yourself to be human, but also have boundaries when necessary. This means setting limits on what you are willing to do or say and then stick to them.

Some days you may feel like the most important thing to do is keep your feelings inside and not even mention how hard it’s been for you. That might be the best course of action when your parents refuse help or continue unhealthy habits that make your life difficult

But if there are other times when they open up about their struggles, try to find an outlet for yourself in those moments too. This will create two-way communication and relief. 

Also, find a friend who cares and can listen without judgment, or just curl up with a good book or movie. Anything that allows you to unwind and rejuvenate is critical when caring for aging parents. 

Finding an outlet for your feelings is very crucial – it will relieve some of the stress and pressure you feel, which might make things with your parents a little easier in the end.

Senior retired man is planting inside his glasshouse for happy retirement relaxing lifestyle.

Include Them in Future Plans

Encourage them to talk about their future plans.   When thinking of retirement, health care needs, and finances, it’s easy for this generation of parents to feel like they are losing control. 

But when you respectfully listen to their thoughts on the matter and offer your input from a place of love rather than frustration or anger, then you may be able to include both parties’ wishes. Whether those involve getting help with chores around the house or taking time off work to spend more quality time together. 

Including your elderly parents in the future plans gives them a sense of control over their lives. It also gives them a sense of purpose, knowing that they have something to look forward to in the future and someone who will be there with them every step of the way.

Therefore it is essential to not leave them out of the plans.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up 

This is a tough one! It’s hard to see your parent’s mental and physical health deteriorate. But there are ways you can help them feel better about themselves. 

Take the time to listen closely because that’s what they need most from their children right now—to be heard and understood. Don’t look down on them for not taking care of things that once were second nature, like cooking or cleaning. 

It takes an enormous amount of energy to get through the day with all these changes in routine. So, naturally, you may find yourself feeling frustrated when they won’t take advice due to denial or forgetfulness. However, try to understand where this resistance comes from. Besides, they’re doing what they know how to do to cope. 

Address these issues with patience and understanding because it’s hard for them to change their way of thinking overnight. When you can’t physically be there, try writing letters or sending postcards—they’re a treasure trove of memories they will cherish forever. Don’t forget that sometimes the best thing you can do is listen! 

Also, try not to take on too many tasks yourself and give your parents some space to live out this new chapter in life as much as possible. It’ll help build up their confidence and independence over time. And when things get tough, it’ll help just knowing someone cares enough about them to show up at all.


In conclusion, these eight communication tips will help you get your aging parents to seek the help they need. By following these guidelines, you can improve their quality of life and maintain a better relationship.


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