The need of outside help for an aging parent may be a difficult discussion to bring up, but if done tactfully, it is possible to encourage in-home care with little resistance from an elderly loved one, and possibly make them feel as if the decision is theirs, rather than one that has been forced upon them.
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There are many reasons a parent may need in-home care assistance. They may have trouble remembering to take their medications, have injured themselves, or perhaps no longer have the strength, but still have errands to run or appointments to get to. Daily tasks can be done by, or with the assistance of, an outside caregiver. And because the parent is still living at home, they can retain their independence, at a lower cost than if they were moved to a long term care home.
If the parent is still resistant to in-home care, it may be a good idea to consult with their primary doctor, to discuss any concerns about the senior’s ability to care for themselves. The doctor’s knowledge of any medical issues that may hinder a senior’s ability to do daily tasks can provide excellent reasons for outside help, especially if the parent is resistant to any family pressure.
When a child becomes a parent’s primary caregiver, they must sacrifice much of their time to be there when needed. This means putting aside their own children, spouses, friends, work, or free time. But rather than create guilt, it is important to explain to the parent that their health and safety is a concern, and ask them to have someone come in on certain days to alleviate those worries. If both parents still live in the home, suggest that the help could benefit both of them, especially if one is more mobile than the other. Having some help with meal preparation or running errands could be something they will agree to without admitting they need help.
The thought of having in-home care may have a parent fearing a loss of independence or dignity. They can feel as if they have no control over their own lives, which creates insecurity and feelings of vulnerability. They may also be concerned about the financial costs of outside help. It is necessary to understand and help them to alleviate these fears. To make this easier, try to see things from their perspective, so any discussions can be free of judgment and frustration.
When the time comes to begin in-home care, do not emphasize that it is permanent. Start out having someone come in temporarily after your parent is discharged from the hospital, or after an injury. If leaving for a short time for work or a vacation, have someone come in while away. This may help your parent experience the benefits of outside help, and can help to convince them that help on a more permanent basis is a good idea.
Aging parents do not like to feel like a burden to their children, but when they are no longer able to completely care for themselves, they need assistance to maintain their health and safety. This is where a home care agency can help, by providing your elderly loved ones with the assistance they need, while still retaining their dignity and independence.