Surprisingly, many family members resist in home care. Frequently our aging parents refuse help, despite their desire to remain at home. Mom or Dad often express that outside help is not necessary and that they are capable of managing on their own. Hiring a caregiver is seen by many seniors as a threat to their independence and an invasion of privacy. Please see below for some suggestions on how to approach the subject with your loved ones.
1. Work with the more independent parent
In most homes there is a more independent parent. When both parents live in the home together, it can be beneficial to advise that the other parents will benefit from this additional support (when in truth both will). This can help alleviate some of the distress and influence the decision making process.
2. Get the caregiver’s foot in the door
Secondly, suggest hiring a caregiver to manage a few household chores and NOT actual hands-on care or personal assistance. This can be seen as minimal help and less threatening to independence. This entrance into the home can expand into other services. The emphasis on the household chores and cooking / food shopping is an easy discussion. Once they see the value add of this caregiver and build a trusting relationship, it will be easy to ensure they get the help they need.
3. Explain to your parent that you need help
When a parent lives alone or with you, discuss how you need help and assistance in the home for peace of mind. Explain to your parent that it would not only reduce your concerns, but also alleviate some of the tasks you are required to do. An easy suggestion can be a housekeeper to reduce managing daily household chores (cleaning, shopping, meals, and laundry). Many times family members are working caregivers, so suggest that by having a companion stay or assist with these tasks would relieve your of worries.
4. Call a trusted professional
Seeking help and advice is never a bad thing. Finding a trusted professional that your parents respect may lead to them heading the advice. It might be surprising their willingness to accept the advice of a long time family physician, a former or current home health nurse, or a family friend in the medical field. This individual can be used to sway your parents opinions and relay your concerns.
5. Resistance is not Personal
In many families, your conflicting role as the child and caregiver hinder your well-meaning attempts at helping your parents. The basis for your actions should not be confused by misguided guilt. Therefore, do not take their rebuttals personally or offensively, but rather focus on a necessary means to an end.