How to help ageing loved one that doesn’t want help

Key Points


  • Aged care provider Feros Care has a wealth of experience with many of their team members regularly conversing with ageing loved ones and their families.
  • Read on for six tips to help you convince a parent or loved one to accept help that will improve their quality of life.

Have you ever tried to approach a parent or loved one about getting more help around their home and been rebuffed?

It can be a very tricky conversation to navigate, especially if they promise they’re fine, or take offence at the suggestion that they need assistance.

Here are six tips to help you pull it off successfully.

1. Choose the right time to chat


Choose a moment when everyone is calm and you’re unlikely to be interrupted. Explain that you’d like to have a chat about the future so you can understand their wishes and that you’ll listen openly and respectfully to everything they have to say.

2. Ask the right questions


Your loved one may become defensive if you point out all the ways you feel they’ve changed and are unable to take care of themselves. A positive starting point is to ask them whether they’re finding some activities of daily living more difficult than they used to.

If they say everything is fine, you can gently point out some of your observations. You might say, “I noticed it seems more difficult for you to walk up the stairs now,” or “This is a big house and cleaning it all by yourself is a big task.”

3. Avoid any judgement


While any behavioural changes might seem obvious to you, your loved one might be in denial or having a hard time accepting that they are ageing. Using supportive and non-judgmental language will reduce the risk of them reacting negatively or shutting you out.

Instead of saying, “Mum, you can’t even cook meals for yourself anymore,” try something like, “I can see how much effort it is for you to cook now, and I’d love to get you some help.”

You can point out how aged care providers such as Feros Care are focused on reablement, doing things with your loved one rather than for them – just making life that little bit easier.

4. Do your research


Having some information on hand about the different aged care options available will help everyone get a better understanding of the process.

There are four different levels of government-funded Home Care Packages to help your parent stay in their home for longer. You can check eligibility for government funding by answering a few questions on the My Aged Care website.

With wait times of three to six months for most government subsidies, it pays to apply before the need is urgent. If your loved one needs immediate care or doesn’t meet the eligibility requirements, private services are also available.

5. Explain the importance of getting onto it


It might help to explain that getting in-home care early on often leads to better outcomes. When the need for assistance is left too long, a fall or other health event might occur that forces your parent to go straight into an aged care home. Early intervention may allow your loved one to live comfortably in their home for longer. It’s just like an insurance policy – you usually opt in for one before anything goes wrong.

6. Enlist outside help


If your loved one is still resistant to getting help, it could be useful to enlist the help of a health or aged care professional. Their General Practitioner will be able to evaluate your parents’ changing needs and make recommendations. Hearing it from a health professional may convince your parent to accept help.

You can also contact the Feros Care team for advice and support before you begin the conversation.

Staying informed


Feros Care have been helping older Australians live healthier, happier, better-connected lives since 1990. They offer a free Aged Care Guide, offering easy-to-understand information on the range of Government subsidised care programs available for seniors. In simple terms, the guide explains:

  • The types of aged care services you or a loved one may be able to access, and who each service is most suitable for.
  • How to access services, including all the steps and eligibility criteria.
  • The free assessment process for each service, and
  • What happens after you have been approved for a service.

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