How to Tell Your Aging Parent They Need In-Home Care
It's come to the point when you're afraid to leave your aging parent home alone. What if they forget to turn off the oven? What if they fall? What if they forget they already took their medication and take it again?
It's time for in-home care.
In-home care, however, is often met with refusal from aging parents. They might say that they don't need it, that it's an invasion of privacy, that they'll lose their independence, or that it's dangerous to have a stranger in their home. We know that telling your elderly parent they need in-home care is an emotional challenge, so we've compiled some tips to make the process easier.
Have the conversation at the right time, in the right way.
It's a good idea to introduce the idea slowly and give them time to process it. Only bring it up in conversation if they're calm and in a good mental space. Once they're in that space, try to bring up the topic by asking questions and letting your parent come to the answer.
Asking about what they will do if they fall when no one is home, or if they aren't strong enough physically to do household chores, makes it easier to illustrate they need help. They might even reach that conclusion on their own.
Introduce the caregiver as housekeeper first.
Your parent will likely be more accepting of help if it's less about them and more about keeping the house in order when they can't. Try introducing your caregiver as a housekeeper first, helping with heavier household tasks like vacuuming and laundry to get your parent used to having him or her there, and allowing time for an organic relationship to build. As comfort and familiarity grows, your parent might be more receptive to the caregiver helping with more personal tasks, a little bit at a time.
Make it about you.
Many parents care more about their children's wellbeing than their own, so if you've been the primary caregiver until now, redirect the perspective to be about helping you. Put emphasis on how an in-home caregiver would relieve you of the stress of managing the household chores, allowing you to spend more quality time with them.
Call on a professional they trust.
This can be their long-time family doctor or even a family friend in the medical field. Your parent might surprise you with how quickly they'll change their mind after getting advice from an authority.
Give it to them straight.
If all else fails, it's time to be frank and give them an ultimatum. If your aging parent is anything like my mother, then they are very stubborn and insistent on the point that they don't want to live or die anywhere except in their own home.
Tell your parent that living at home without help is not an option anymore, so they can either agree to in-home care or leave the house to live in an assisted living facility. Give specific examples of times they fell, forgot to take their medication, or ate lunch three times, to illustrate the point that they need help.
Take nothing personally.
If your parent is offering this much resistance, there's likely a deeper issue at play. They might be nervous or scared of what's happening and what comes next, or they might feel shame, embarrassment, or frustration about being unable to do things the way they could before. If they seem angry, they may not be angry at you but at the situation. You know that you're acting with their best interest at heart, and they hopefully will too.
If you have any questions about in-home care or need a highly personalized in-home care plan for a loved one, contact us today!
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