Why Seniors Resist Care

One Caregiver’s Journey has enlightened us that caregiving is among the greatest gifts we can give a loved one. As life expectancies increase, medical treatments change, and the risks brought by Covid-19, more and more of us find ourselves caring for a loved one at home. Covid-19 caused many families to experience caregiving not only with time and attention to a loved one but to also know they improved the quality of life for someone. Providing care for a family member in need is an act of kindness, love, and loyalty. 

It’s not a requirement to be a nursing expert, a superhero, or a saint to be a good family caregiver. With the proper support and knowledge, anyone can provide loving, effective care to beloved family members. Serving as a caregiver is an extremely rewarding experience, but it is also one of the most demanding jobs. Caregiving can trigger a host of difficult emotions, both from you and your loved one, due to the challenges and complexities that come with the job. One of the toughest challenges you may face is when the family member resists care altogether. It is saddening when a loved one pushes you away, but it’s heartbreaking to see them resist help when their well-being is the prime concern. Often, it is frustrating to convince loved ones to receive the care they need. It’s hard to rationalize the reason behind this combative behavior when everyone can see that they really need attention and care.

The reason we seek to arrange care for our loved ones as they age is simple: we want only the best for them. Unfortunately, the elderly may not perceive this reason easily. It is not uncommon in the healthcare industry to experience elderly resistance. Unfortunately, this is not always a smooth and easy transition but a process that requires effort to get through. Consider looking into the seed behind this resistance. Let’s take a look into the leading causes of elderly resistance to care. 


As a person ages, there are changes that go along with aging—poor health, memory problems, and a decline in physical abilities— that can strike fear into our loved ones. Most seniors experience changes in their surroundings, abilities, and loss of things familiar to them, which causes worry and fear. Many seniors are also afraid of falling, unable to afford living independently and the rising cost of medication causes them to resist care from anyone. Fear of change is the leading reason for the stubborn attitude amongst seniors. Our loved ones may not talk openly about this, but they think about them a lot. Understanding what worries them is the key to convincing them to receive the best care possible. 

Loss of Independence

For seniors who have been living independently in their own homes for decades, transitioning to in-home care or moving to a senior care facility can be upsetting and overwhelming. Loss of independence can be discouraging for them since they have spent years living independently, working jobs, raising families, and making decisions. They may react with anger, frustration, and in most cases, hostility to the idea of having to “rely” on someone else to provide care. 

While we cannot avoid some barriers to independence, take the time to empower your loved ones. The ability to make choices throughout the day significantly impacts how they’ll feel about themselves and in-home care. Providing a sense of control promotes a feeling of achievement and self-worth that the elderly feel they’re losing.


Elderly adults tend to resist care because of guilt. It is a fact that with old age comes with health risks. They may need to go back and forth to the hospital for check-ups and treatments, and medicine maintenance. This often leads to feeling guilty of being a burden to family and friends. What they don’t always realize or acknowledge that you’re willing to care for them despite the expenses. Open communication is the key to convincing them to receive care. 

Other Factors

There are more factors why loved ones resist help. In some cases, their stubbornness may be because of mistrust or mental health concerns. Alzheimer’s or dementia is an inevitable disease for many seniors. These diseases contribute greatly to the experiences of paranoia and distrust in seniors, let alone remember why they might need assistance in the first place. This often leads to feelings of fear and vulnerability as they struggle to recall their surroundings and the names or faces of people they know and love. 

All in all, your loved one’s struggles and concerns about accepting care are unique to each individual’s situation. Evaluating what factors are stopping them from receiving care provides insight into why they resist your help. But, when caregiving becomes more of a combative attempt than a cooperative one, you might want to consider exploring options and other strategies available to address resistant situations. 

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