6 ways to help a parent reluctant to accept aged care

03 September, 2021

As a child, it can be really challenging watching your parents’ health decline, especially if they are refusing care or the possibility of aged care. It’s important to remember you are not alone. Many adult children go through the exact same problem—watching their Mum and Dad decline in health and feeling helpless. 

So what can you do to help your parents who are refusing help? Here are some tips from our expert team with decades of experience in aged care transitions, to guide you during this difficult time.


1. Be empathetic

Being empathetic is the best way to have productive conversations around aged care support options. Your parents have a life full of memories, good and bad, and have helped you grow into the person you are today. For a lot of people, going into aged care means accepting they are no longer as capable as they used to be. 

Even if Mum and Dad are frustrating you, it’s important to look at their point of view. This may be scary for them, uncertain as they do not want to leave their family home full of memories, or may not want to welcome strangers offering care services into their home—which seems like a massive hit to their independence. 


2. Ask questions

It’s important to remember you don’t know everything that is going on in your parents’ lives. They may even be hiding some of their symptoms of ageing so you don’t have to worry about them. Our team suggests instead of asking Mum and Dad about very specific aged care options (which can sometimes be confronting for them), ask them open-ended questions. This can help them feel more comfortable expressing their opinions and experiences without feeling they are being attacked. 


Example questions include:

  • What has it been like living on your own?
  • What is it like taking care of [other parent]?
  • Tell me about how you take care of [other parent]
  • What do you think about the next 5-10 years of your life?


3. Don’t be pushy

At the end of the day, you are their child and unless life forces you to act on your parents’ behalf, it’s important to remember they are their own person. 

When you are looking into aged care, present Mum and Dad with options. It often helps to start with small changes and keep them empowered by allowing them the choice. Whether that’s choosing which days and times a carer visits the house during the week or taking them to visit a couple of different aged care and retirement communities, let them see and choose from the massive range of choices that is available on the Gold Coast.


4. Enlist the help of an impartial person

Sometimes having a third party opinion can be helpful. Emotions and tensions can run high within families when the sensitive topic of ageing and aged care is raised. Enlisting the help of an impartial advisor can help by providing an empathetic ear and provide sound advice and information about help, services and accommodation options for your parents.


5. Plan ahead

Planning ahead helps reduce friction around the discussion of aged care. It also means your parents had an active involvement in the decision making of their aged care. 

By starting the conversation early, you can discuss multiple options and possible futures, including what should happen in case they have to move in emergency respite care or if they develop a serious degenerative illness, like dementia.


6. Don’t shoulder the burden by yourself

There is only so much you can do as their child. You can’t be everywhere at once and no one expects that of you. It can also help with discussions around aged care to get someone your parents trust involved or have some of those tough conversations for you. This person can be a neighbour of a similar age, a best friend, a sibling or cousin, or their religious leader.


Odyssey is here for you

It may be the case that your parents are reluctant to move into aged care due to the fear of losing their independence. At Odyssey Lifestyle Care Communities, we are passionate about innovating the aged care accommodation model. Our hybrid model of offering retirement village-style community with nursing home level care, when it is needed, ensures our residents can live their life the way they want, with care readily available.


We understand how difficult navigating the world of aged care can be and Odyssey is here to guide you through the decision making process. Our Aged Care assist is a free and comprehensive service that provides you with unbiased advice about which aged care communities will best suit your needs. You can learn more about our service here.