Ask the Therapist
How can I convince my parents that it is time to get home care?
Great question. Over the last few months I have spent time with very well intentioned sons and daughters who recognize that their parents could benefit from help in the house and try to engage our services in providing care. However some parents occasionally disagree as they feel that they are capable of managing on their own. Some view help in the home as an invasion of privacy. Others may feel that having care in the home is simply a means to placate their children and resentment may grow between parents and their children.
The first thing I do is assess if this is the proper time to get care in the home. Sometimes children see changes in their parents or in their living environment that causes alarm. However, these changes, while disturbing for children, don't always signal the need for help. Sometimes all that is required is close monitoring. Try not to get insulted by your parents' rebuttals. If you do feel confident that your parents require help in the house follow these tips.
1. Start with the minimal amount of hours necessary. Let your parents get accustomed to the idea of having someone in their house for a few hours before letting the caregiver settle in for long hours.
2. Choose wisely and understand your parent's needs and communicate them to the caregiver. If your mom loves cooking, the caregiver should not take over the kitchen. If your parents are quiet and private people, make sure the caregiver is low-key and stays to herself. If your parents love to be entertained, find a gregarious caregiver. The idea is to make your parents look forward to the caregiver's visit and not for them to feel like a stranger in their own home.
3. Suggest that a caregiver be hired to help with housework rather than hands-on personal care. This depersonalizes the situation and makes it appear less threatening. Let your parents develop trust in the caregiver before care becomes more personal.
4. Focus on the parent that is acting as a caregiver and explain the purpose of hiring a caregiver is to relieve some of their stress and to give them the opportunity to get a break so they can stay healthy.
5. Seek help from a trusted source. Sometimes parents resist the advice of their children. Remember we did this to our parents as teenagers too. Having someone they trust may be helpful in advising your parents in the right direction whether it be a doctor, neighbor, peer, financial advise, or other.
6. Explain that the help is for your sake. Speak frankly about your concerns and explain that having someone in the house will give you peace of mind. Or perhaps you truly do need the help. Are you making meals for your family and your parents? Are you taking time off work to take them to a doctor's appointment? Are you getting worn down by worry that they will have a fall in the middle of the night? If so, speak up. Your parents may welcome the opportunity if they know it will relieve your stress.
For more information on this issue, please feel free to contact us. Please remember to try not to get insulted if your parents initially show resistance. Remember to work with the home care agency to find the right caregiver at the right time.