We all need a little extra help sometimes, and as we age, that need for assistance becomes even greater. If you have an aging parent or loved one, you know that getting them the help they need can be difficult. If your parent needs more assistance than you or your family alone can provide, perhaps in-home care is the solution. Bringing this up and making your parent understand this, however, can be a challenge. Here are a few ways to start and continue the conversation about in-home care with your parent.
Gently express your concerns.
Tell your parent that you worry about them being alone in their home or being able to fully care for themselves. Be understanding to any resistance or fears they express, and acknowledge that this is a difficult decision. Tell them that you feel this change would be best for both them and you. Cite specific examples of behaviors that concern you or tasks that would be made easier for them with another set of helping hands. If your aging parent still lives with a spouse, point out that having a caregiver would be beneficial to both spouses in the home.
Admit your inability to care for them on your own.
If worrying about your loved one keeps you awake at night or makes you unable to be fully present at work, tell them that in a considerate way. Ask them if they would be willing to lighten your load by allowing an in-home caregiver come and check in on them weekly or even every other day. Assure them that immediately hiring a full-time in-home caregiver might not be necessary and tell them that you can begin by asking a caregiver to come in once a week. Explain that if they were to fall or suddenly become ill, having another caregiver on call would give you peace of mind. A caregiver could drive your parent to appointments, help prepare meals, remind your loved one to take medications and assist with house chores. Tell you parent that you, too, need help in assisting them with these tasks.
Tell them they can give it a trial run.
To begin this process, tell your loved one that you will bring in a caregiver on a short-term basis. If your parent feels uncomfortable or is unhappy with the care they are getting, ask them to communicate that to you so that you can look into other options for them. Alternatives could include an entirely new caregiving agency or simply a different individual caregiver. Tell them that you will solicit recommendations from their physician or other people that they trust. Try to involve them as much as possible in the decision-making process so that they feel their input is valued.
Stress their own independence.
Many people feel that asking for help is giving up the very last bit of their independence or control when in fact, it’s just the opposite. Let your parent know that having an in-home caregiver is a way for them to maintain their independence. Having in-home care means that your parent will not immediately have to move in with you or another loved one and that they will not have to make the transition into a nursing home. They will have quality, one-on-one care and assistance with daily tasks that have become difficult for them or that now take them too much time to complete. Listen to their thoughts and concerns and be sure to address them as best as possible. If you can’t, find someone who can so that your parent can rest assured and feel comfortable making this life-changing decision.