How to Help A Family Member With Dementia Who Refuses Care

It’s common for someone who is living with dementia to deny they are experiencing any cognitive issues. It may be frustrating for you and your family, but it’s important not to become flustered. If a loved one is continuing to deny that they have dementia, or they are refusing to go into care, it’s important to help in the right ways. How can you help a dementia patient who is refusing to go into care?

helping a family member with dementia who refuses care

Approaching the Subject of Dementia Gently and Calmly

When you are talking to someone about your concerns, you have to be gentle with them. Memory issues do not always point towards dementia, but you have to let your loved one know you are concerned about them. It’s important to give them examples of issues to further back up your claims. For example, forgetting names or missing important appointments are common signs of dementia. Keeping a diary of events as proof will help show them why you are concerned, as well provide evidence of dementia symptoms. 

When it comes to approaching the subject, you may want to break the main issue down into a smaller one. If you have noticed they are forgetting names of friends, you can gently point them towards a doctor that may be able to help with their memory issues. If they continue to deny the issue, this may delay them from receiving an official diagnosis, and getting the essential help they need.

How You Can Offer Help to Someone Who Denies Diagnosis

Anybody receiving a diagnosis of dementia can have a range of emotions arising from denial to sadness or anxiety. However they feel, it’s important for you to stay calm and composed, as this could help them stay calm as well. 

When you are trying to help them process their diagnosis, you have to be supportive, but also do what you can to remain composed. If it’s someone you care about, you could become emotional, or you could become insistent on a certain level of care, which can make the issue difficult if they are still refusing care, or even denying they have a condition. 


During this time, it can benefit you to find out about local support groups or therapies. This can help them to come to terms with a diagnosis. It is so important to speak to the person that you’re concerned about and encourage them to see a doctor themselves. If this doesn’t work, you may want to consider speaking to the doctor yourself, but make sure you get the person’s consent first.

Including Them in the Care Process

It can be easy to push forward and speak to the doctor about getting an official diagnosis, but when it comes to the topic of dementia care, you’ve got to give your loved one a number of options. Just because the person has dementia doesn’t mean that they are incapable of making choices themselves. Giving them a number of options of care can make them feel like they are part of the process, and have control over the decisions. 

When it comes to selecting the right caregiver, give your loved one the opportunity to select how and when a caregiver can best help meet their needs.

Remember to Keep Their Dignity at Heart

The process of coming around to the idea that you may have dementia is not easy. Taking it slow and looking at things from their perspective is crucial to approaching this subject successfully. The process of introducing a caregiver is difficult, as this can communicate the message that they are needing help in every aspect of their lives that they were once able to handle themselves. However, if you take it slow, this will not just help your loved one to come around to the idea of accepting some form of help, but it can help you out as well. 


Having a professional caregiver help throughout the process is beneficial because they are able to deal with dementia care professionally, which is the best possible way. It’s so easy for us, as loved ones, to get frustrated because they are refusing any form of care. However, when it comes to the point that you bring a caregiver into the process, you have to put yourself in your loved one’s shoes, while also being aware of the fact that this is a confusing time in many ways.

We are committed to helping you and your loved one navigate through this time in your lives. If you have more questions regarding caring for loved ones with dementia, please contact the Thoughtful Care today!