Your Elderly Parent Refuses Assisted Living. Now What?

elderly parent refuses assisted living

We love our parents, we want what is best for them, sometimes staying in their home is not the ideal situation. So, what do you do when your elderly parent refuses assisted living? There are options, some potentially more ideal—for both parties involved.

What to Do When An Elderly Parent Refuses Assisted Living?

When it comes to assisted living and care for your elderly parents that are no longer able to care for themselves, knowing how to go about finding a solution can truly help ease the process. It can be difficult for parents to give up their independence and accept either assisted living or caregiving options.

Talk with Your Family

The first step in any process should be talking with your family and siblings first if you have any. Taking the time to speak with your siblings or other family members may help to smooth the process over and help make choosing an option easier.

It’s sometimes off-putting (and very disarming) to suggest that your parent should be in an assisted living home or that they need caregiving help if you have not first discussed it with the other people that should be part of the decision. Taking the time to talk with your siblings, aunts, uncles, or other family members can help get everyone on a united front and can help you to create a plan.

Avoid Being Pushy

You should also avoid pushing your parents. Though you might be tempted to assert your own power and tell your parents that they need to be in an assisted living home or need caregivers, this is only going to make your parent combative and is going to make them feel like they are being forced to do something that they do not want to do. Taking the time to discuss the options at different times, taking the time to talk with them, and giving them all the options can make a huge difference.

Listen as Much As you Speak

Another thing to remember is that it always feels good to be listened to. If you do take the time to speak with your parent and find out what they might be worried about or what might be keeping them from committing can help you to see things from their point of view.

Outline the Pros

It may also be helpful to take the time to speak with them about some of the possible benefits of an assisted living situation or a caregiver coming into the home.

It could be that they simply do not realize that they do not have to give up all of their independence if they do opt for an assisted living situation, they can still do many things on their own with just a little help that they might need. Taking the time to talk about what might be positive about living in an assisted living home like helping with housework and having people around all the time can be a huge draw for many parents.

Bring in Help

When it comes to a big decision like taking the help of a caregiver or going to an assisted living home, taking the time to get someone that might be a bit more neutral can also help. A physician, someone that your parent trusts, might also help you to sway their opinion. You should also make sure that your feelings are known without making their feelings seem unimportant.

Talk With Someone That has Experience

If you have any family friends or people that your parents know that are living in an assisted living situation you may want to talk to them as well to show that things are not all that bad and that they too can be happy. Talking with someone that has first-hand experience with assisted living homes is a great thing that can help to ease some of the fears that your parent might have.

You can also schedule tours so that your parent can see the area first hand and so that they can see just what they might be getting into should they agree. This is also going to give you the opportunity to see what the facility is like, to ask any questions that you might have, and to take the time to get your bearings and help to find out more, straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak.

Find a Temporary Solution or Seek Legal Options

You can also take the time to find a temporary solution like allowing your parents to stay with another person or to have someone come into the home to care for them. You may also look at things like day programs where your parent goes to a facility during the day or where someone comes in and takes care of them during the day rather than a full-time caregiver.

If it comes to the point that you’re afraid that your parent is going to get hurt or that they need more help with medical care, speak with a lawyer about what options exist and all available help (especially if you are their power of attorney).

This should not be your first option. It’s almost a sure way of making your parent feel you are forcing them into something while eroding trust. Without other attempts, they’ll feel all their liberties float away with no choice in the matter.

When to Start Thinking About Assisted Living or Caregiving Options?

One of the biggest issues that many children or other family members come up against is that they simply do not know when to start the discussion until something major happens and they have to make a split-second decision. With something as serious and as life-changing as putting a person into an assisted living facility, you should be taking weeks and months to make this decision.

This is not something that you can decide at the beginning of the week then have the individual in a home by the weekend. This is a very serious discussion and taking the time to talk about it, to find out all that you can, and to truly consider all the options is going to help put your mind at ease, help make your parent a bit more at ease with the choice, and can help make the transition easier.

If you have a parent that cannot take care of themselves any longer, it is essential to take the time to find a solution that is going to work for everyone and that is going to make the transition as easy and painless as possible. you can make a list of pros of getting extra care, cons, you can take the time to talk about their concerns as well as your own, and you can take the time to understand all the possibilities.

An assisted living facility or a caregiver is not the end of the line and it is not the end of their independence. It is more of a new chapter that allows loved ones to keep some of their independence without their family having to worry continually that they are not being taken care of.


What strategies are best for talking with your loved one about a care facility or a caregiver?

The best option is always going to be approaching your parents or elders in a sympathetic and understanding way. Pushing may make them dig their heels in and refuse to budge, it may also make them feel that you do not care about them or you do not care about their feelings and opinions. Taking the time to be open, to listen, and to present your case in a caring and empathetic manner is going to make discussing something as serious as a care plan easier.

When to start thinking about a care plan?

It is always best to start thinking about a care plan before it becomes too late or before it becomes too frantic and hurried. We as humans often hate decisions where we have few other options. It is always best to start thinking about care options for your elderly loved ones before something dramatic like a fall or a medical emergency occurs. Taking the time to gradually start introducing options and to start looking into plans can help make the idea less jarring and can make transitioning easier overall.

Why might your loved one be resisting?

Many people assume that those that are resisting are simply doing so because they want to be difficult. We may forget that they are people and that they might be scared, they may be resistant to change, and they might be worried about what is going to happen to them. We need to be understanding, we need to be empathetic, and we need to take the time to listen to the fears and worries of those that we are trying to place in care.