My elderly mother refuses to let outside help in her home. What can I do?


Q: Mom lives with me and I work full-time. I want to hire home health care, but she refuses to let a stranger in the house. What should I do?

A: You don't mention whether your mother acknowledges that she needs some help while you're at work. If she does recognize that she can't stay alone all day, perhaps another solution would be for her to attend an adult day care program.

On the other hand, if she is in denial about needing help, her objection about the stranger may simply be masking the real issue. If it really comes down to her fear of a stranger, consider having the person come the first few times while you (or someone you mom trusts) will be at home.

Leave for a short time and return. The next time, leave for a bit longer. Perhaps in this way you can get your mom to overcome her fear.

Keep in mind that any type of change can be frightening for an elder and fear of the unknown can be intensified, especially if there is any type of dementia starting. If you haven't already, get everyone in the family and his friends to help promote the benefits of having a caregiver.

Sheri Samotin brings more than 30 years of business and management experience to LifeBridge Solutions. She is a Certified National Guardian, Certified Daily Money Manager & Certified Professional Coach. She is the author of Facing the Finish: A Road Map for Aging Parents and Adult Children.

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You are right. Older adults refuse help from other people, even though they desperately need it in any situation. They need to prove themselves that they are not aged and weak. So they try their level best to do their works without any help from others. Last week I went to a Prestige Care's retired community (prestigecare/independent.php) to attend a program, there I found some aged people who needs to do their daily activities as their own. They didn't like to accept others help. This is something great to see.
I have a mother in law who refuses outside help, unable to transfer from a chair to wheelchair, sleeps in a recliner, sets off her "life alert" then wont allow firemen or police into her home, unable to get to a bathroom or to get food or drink independently. She has been hospitalized several times for sores due to sitting in wet and soiled Depends and still insists on being home. We live 1700 miles away and her daughter who lives within 5 min. works full time and has her family obligations and also does not want to be her mothers PCA. Also, MIL has been asked to leave one nursing home! She is mentally competent according to her doctors! I find this hard to believe as normal people don't live this way. What are our options? Called a lawyer and were told we would have a difficult time having the court rule for her to go to a home. People have implied "elderly neglect" but my mother in law rejects everything. We just need guidance, please