How To Get Someone Medical Help When They Refuse (Including Loved Ones or Elderly Parents)

It can be frustrating and even downright painful to watch a loved one suffer, especially when they are reluctant to seek a doctor to treat their condition. While we cannot force our loved ones to receive medical treatment, there are ways to support them regardless of their personal choices. Here, the compassionate home care providers at Avila Home Care detail how to get someone medical help when they refuse, including loved ones, elderly parents, and other family members.

5 Ideas on How to Get Someone Medical Help When They Refuse

  1. Be Honest with Your Loved One

    While you may feel that your loved one can really benefit from receiving care, especially if you have a parent with a condition like dementia who refuses help, remember that they may be hindered by fear or even denial. If you feel it is truly necessary that your loved one receives treatment for their medical condition, such as heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, etc, be open and honest about your perspective. Without pressuring your loved one, express your concerns with patience and an open mind, while repeatedly telling them how much you love and support them. Your loved one may be more likely to consider getting help if you tell them how much you care.

    a man rejecting medication while a medical practitioner has to pause to consider how to get someone medical help when they refuse
  2. Try to Listen Without Judgement

    Oftentimes, a family member may refuse medical treatment out of fear or past trauma. Perhaps they have had a terrible experience in the past that has now led to a fear of doctors or hospitalization. This is a surprisingly common scenario that should not be taken lightly.

    If your elderly loved one refuses to see a doctor out of fear, cost concerns, denial about their health issue or another reason, first simply listen without judgment. You may be able to offer sound advice to mitigate their fears, or bring understanding regarding their situation. While you may not be able to convince your loved one to get help, you might be able to avoid your loved one becoming defensive or agitated.
  3. Encourage Your Loved One to Consider All Options

    There is more than one way to seek help for a health problem. If your loved one refuses medical treatment in a hospital, perhaps you could encourage them to seek other outlets for obtaining medical care, such as through a private practice or find a provider who does home visits. If your loved one is refusing medical treatment due to potential costs, bring up insurance options they may have, as well as alternative forms of payment. If they are worried that receiving care will be a burden to their family, reassure them that their medical issues are not at all inconvenient to their loved ones. By providing suggestions that address your loved one’s list of potential roadblocks to receiving care, you can best convince them that their health is worth fighting for.

  4. Avoid Arguing with Your Loved One About the Issue

    While you may feel passionate about obtaining the best care possible for your elderly loved one, you will want to avoid arguing, raising your voice, threatening, or ignoring your loved one due to your frustration. It is understandable to feel anger at the situation, but expressing that anger to your loved one will only make them feel more isolated. Instead, practice grace when handling a complicated situation such as a loved one refusing care.

  5. Remember That Your Loved One is Responsible For Their Own Choices

    You cannot force your loved one to make decisions that they do not wish to make. While this may be difficult to accept, the most that you can do is support, care, and show empathy during this difficult time. Unless you believe their condition is sincerely life-threatening, and that receiving immediate treatment is vital to saving their life, you cannot make them receive medical help if that is not their wish. This is also important to keep in mind when an elderly parent refuses to take medication.


elderly parent refuses to take medication while a daughter lovingly assures their parent

What if Your Elderly Parent Refuses to Take Medication

If an elderly parent refuses to take medication, talk through the decision at their pace and keep things in proper perspective (depending on how important the medication truly is to your loved one’s well being). Here too, the goal is to keep the door open to productive discussion. Listen and take time to understand why your elderly parent is resistant and then explore alternatives that may make them more comfortable taking their medication.

It is also important to explore if the reason they’d prefer to stop taking a particular medication is because they are experiencing adverse side affects due to that medication, or because perhaps it is mixing with other medications in a way that is harmful to their health- if this is the case, call your loved one’s doctor right away. If their hesitation is unfounded as far as you can tell, slowly familiarizing your loved one with taking regular supplements can help ease them into faithfully taking more important medications.

Other times, inviting other close family members, even other elderly family members into the discussion (especially if they also have had to adjust to a medication schedule), may make a huge difference in helping an elderly parent who refuses to take their medication.

The Role of Aging in Place Caregivers

Your loved one’s untreated medical conditions can impact those who are close to them, especially if you or another family member is responsible for their care. While it can be extraordinarily challenging to help your loved ones see the benefits of medical care that you may see, home care agencies can help support your efforts.

Home care agencies provide aging in place care for clients and their families, offering support to those who may be reluctant to seek help. Home Caregivers can assist you in ensuring that your loved one is receiving the best quality of care possible, and help you identify when your loved one’s care plan needs to be changed. Having a Caregiver who is experienced in aging in place care can make all the difference.

Do You Have a Family Member Refusing Medical Treatment in the Greater Baltimore Area? Avila Home Care is Here to Help!

The dedicated aging-in-place Caregivers from Avila Home Care in Baltimore understand the difficulty of your loved one refusing to see a medical provider, and can offer quality supportive services to give your loved one the care they need and deserve. To learn more about our Baltimore home care services, contact Avila Home Care today.

The aging in place Caregivers at Avila Home Care always encourage readers to discuss any health questions or concerns with a qualified healthcare professional.

Some content in this article was sourced from verywellmind and

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