My father is getting very forgetful, but he refuses to admit it or see a doctor. My sister and I especially worry because he still insists on driving, although he shouldn't be. How can you help someone who won't admit that they need help?


It’s hard to help someone who doesn’t want our help, but sometimes we have to intervene and try to help them anyway. This would seem to be the case in your situation. The Bible tells us to “help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Part of the problem is that your father’s situation will likely only get worse, and even cause serious problems. Not only could he harm himself (either through his driving or an accident at home), but he could end up hurting others. Understandably, he wants to keep his independence, but sooner or later he’ll have to give it up. It happens to all of us if we live long enough.

Let me suggest you talk with your father’s doctor about your concerns; in spite of his reluctance, your father may be more open to a doctor’s advice. In addition, check out any alternatives that might be available in your community, such as home care. You also may need to confront your father honestly about his driving, and find other transportation for him. Your pastor may know of other resources for the elderly in your community.

Pray for your father; this is a difficult time for him, and he needs your love and encouragement. Also pray for wisdom as you and your sister face hard decisions about his future. Pray, as well, that your children will learn through your example of selfless and Christ-like love. The Bible says, “In everything set them an example by doing what is good” (Titus 2:7).

Find peace with God today.