In this post, we are going to look at the top 10 ways of coping when a parent with dementia refuses help!


1.    Stay patient and calm

It can be a frustrating situation when your parent with dementia refuses help. However, the best way for you to have positive results is to always remain calm and patient. Be confident with your tone but speak in a calm voice.

2.    Use distraction techniques

Your parents’ memory loss can cause them to become agitated and frustrated. You can cope with this behaviour by changing the subject. Bring out fun activities, go for a walk, play music or even look at photographs to distract their attention onto something more positive.

Try these reminiscence activities.


3.    Give autonomy and control when possible

Encourage your parents’ independence when possible. Allow them to make decisions from time-to-time. If they have difficulty making a decision, give them a choice of two or ask questions with a yes or no answer to relieving any pressure they could feel.


4.    Create a structure to their day

Use a daily diary that your parents can easily view, This way, they know what to expect for the day and you do too. Organisation and structure are a great way to help manage a care routine with other family members or carers too. Find out more about using a daily diary for dementia here.


5.    Be respectful, positive, reassuring and supportive

Your body language, tone of voice and facial expressions will say a lot more than the words you are using. Try to speak in a respectful, positive tone while maintaining support. Remember your parents are going through this experience as well as you, so they will be feeling equally, if not more frustrated at times. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would like people to speak to you.


6.    Listen to them

As your parents’ memory begins to fade, take a special interest in the stories they begin to tell you. The reminiscence bump often occurs to people living with dementia. This is when someone remembers a time from their past as their new reality. As their condition progresses and they go further and further into their reminiscence bump you can use the stories you’ve learnt to help communicate and understand their needs.


7.    Communicate effectively

As well as using a soft and calm tone, you should smile often, hold their hand and encourage laughter.

8.    Let some things go!

Don’t try to correct your parents if they misremember something, all it will do is cause frustration when they will likely forget it anyway. Let them live in their new reality and if something won’t harm them let them think it!


9.    Simplify your instructions and conversations

Multiple-step actions can be daunting and cause confusion for someone living with dementia. If you can break down tasks into simple manageable steps then your parents can finish the task more easily.

This transfers over into daily conversation. As their dementia progresses speak in shorter sentences.


10. Take away all your expectations

Your desire to have your parents ‘back to normal’ can make it hard for you to accept their new behaviours. This can lead to you having expectations of how they should act and behave.

Let go of these expectations. You’ll find you can focus on enjoying the time you have left with your parents instead of focusing your energy on feeling stressed and worried.


We hope that you can use the above techniques to help when your parent with dementia refuses help. Read here for more information on parents with dementia refusing help.