A patient in denial


I have written a lot about mental illness and am impressed with the large strides forward that have been made, but what if someone is in denial and remains that way? That person won’t visit a psychiatrist or any other professional for that matter. How can we help him/her? As parents become seniors, they might want to move to a Retirement Home and are anxious for their son or daughter to move to an Assisted Living facility.

‘But how do they do this?’ the parents ask.

This is a question that I have been asked so often. I am not a therapist of any kind but have attended many lectures on the subject as well as read about it extensively and the only way out is for the parents to be very firm, to explain the position to their child in a clear, no nonsense way. The parents might even have to present their ‘child’ with an ultimatum and then offer to help him/her pack and offer to go with for the first interview but after that? I think that the only way is to tell them that you will visit as often as is permitted, and will give all the emotional support possible but explain that you are no longer going to live together.

This is one of the most traumatic things we ever had to do, and it was after two psychiatrists had told us that there was no other way.

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