Caring for ageing parents is a journey filled with love and compassion, and we want to ensure their happiness and safety in their golden years.

However, some parents insist only their children provide care. Often, dedicated carers, especially daughters, feel overwhelmed by their mother’s refusal to accept help from others.

So, what can you do? In this article, we’ll talk about care-resisting parents, the reasons behind this resistance, and practical strategies to help you navigate this challenging situation.

Reasons behind this resistance

Emotional bond and trust:

One profound reason for parents’ preference for daughters as caregivers is the unique and deep connection they share.

It’s a lifelong bond founded on trust, love, and understanding each other’s needs. This bond offers parents the comfort and security they desire in caregivers.

Cultural and gender norms:

Cultural and gender norms also contribute to this preference. Caregiving is traditionally seen as a role primarily fulfilled by daughters. These norms can create challenges for daughters balancing caregiving with other responsibilities.

Fear of losing someone they love:

Another reason parents may resist care from anyone but their daughters is the fear of losing them.

Mothers may be anxious about seeing their daughters take a step back, potentially jeopardising their special bond.

So, what can you do to combat this resistance? Here are three effective strategies.

Strategies for overcoming resistance

1. Start an open and honest conversation

If you notice:

• Caregiving becoming increasingly stressful

• Neglect of your own well-being

• Feelings of guilt for not spending enough time with your family…

It’s time to take action.

Start an open and honest conversation with your mum. Express your willingness to provide care, but share your concerns about feeling overwhelmed.

You might say something like:

“I’m doing a lot of things for you – which I’m happy to do, but actually, I’m finding it’s a bit much. I’d like to look at some extra support so that when we spend time together, it can be enjoyable quality time.”

This conversation may not be easy, but it can set the stage for finding a solution that benefits both you and your mum.

2. Devise a plan of action

Once you’ve been honest about your challenges, you need a plan of action:

  • Identify areas where care support would make a difference
  • Consider a solution (help from a family member or a carer)
  • Be proactive and organise that solution.

For instance, if a cleaner would free up time for you to spend with your mum, you could find one and introduce them. Familiarity often eases acceptance.

3. Cultivate a positive mindset

The last step is to recognise that the more people are actively involved in your mum’s life, the better it is for her well-being.

This approach ensures that, in case you become ill or a family emergency arises, a support system is already in place to provide the care and assistance your mum needs.

This safety net guarantees her continuous care and peace of mind, even in difficult situations.


Caring for ageing parents is undoubtedly rewarding, but the challenge of care resistance can be overwhelming.

Therefore, understanding this resistance and taking proactive steps is crucial. Begin with an open conversation, plan for the necessary support, and foster a positive mindset.

Remember, your caregiving role is invaluable, and seeking help when needed allows you to provide the best care for your mum while maintaining your well-being and family life.

If you would like more information, get in touch. I’m Sally, an Independent Social Worker, here to help you on this caregiving journey.

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