Survey: 6 Top Tips to Help Aging Parents Overcome Resistance to Needed Help

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A recent survey of experts by NAPGCM reveals practical ways for children to overcome their aging parents' resistance to help. Emphasizing that accepting some aid can help maintain their independence tops this list of good advice.

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Aging Experts Give Famlies Holiday Tips

"Acknowledging your parents' fears and emphasizing that help can keep them independent are good steps to overcome resistance to needed help," said NAPGCM President Emily Saltz.

As Americans get ready to visit family and friends over the upcoming holidays, a new survey reveals experts' top tips for overcoming a common and difficult family problem -- aging parents resisting the help they need. Experts surveyed by the National Association of Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) say emphasizing to aging parents that receiving assistance can help them maintain self-sufficiency and continue living independently is the best strategy.

This release comes on the heels of related NAPGCM findings that 80% of care managers report regularly encountering cases where seniors are resisting needed help/ declining assistance from their children or loved ones. NAPGCM also reported that the 3 types of help care managers most often find seniors resisting or declining are: decisions about whether to continue driving (cited by 67% of those surveyed), getting needed home health care (62%) and assistance with household chores like cooking, shopping and cleaning (60%).

Here are the top 6 tips cited by geriatric care managers surveyed around the country for overcoming aging parents' resistance to needed help:

  •     Emphasize that receiving help can help them maintain their self-sufficiency and allow them to continue to live independently
  •     Acknowledge their fears/concerns and talk about what might ease their mind.
  •     Be sure to start slow with caregiving - even if you know they need many more hours of help. Prepare the caregiver with your parent’s likes and dislikes and prepare them for possible resistance.
  •     Tell them nothing is written in stone. The help they will get is "a trial period.”
  •     Figure out which family member(s) should have the conversation with your parent -- which ones are they most likely to listen to on a matter like this.
  •     If a parent has a dementia, it is best to consult with a professional care manager on strategies that might work.

"Getting help is often key to allowing aging loved ones to keep their independence and remain in their own homes," said NAPGCM President Emily Saltz. "Acknowledging your parents' fears and emphasizing that help can keep them independent are good steps to overcome resistance to needed help."

The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) was formed in 1985 to advance dignified care for older adults and their families. Geriatric Care Managers are professionals who have extensive training and experience working with older people, people with disabilities and families who need assistance with caregiving issues. They assist older adults who wish to remain in their homes, or can help families in the search for a suitable nursing home placement or extended care if the need occurs. For more information and a list of care managers in your area please visit

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