With nearly 20 years experience helping families provide in-home care for their loved ones, Senior Home Assistance knows how challenging the process of starting a conversation with someone you care about can be.
It can be difficult to acknowledge the fact that your parent or loved one needs help with day-to-day activities, let alone introducing to them the idea of hiring a professional in-home caregiver. Your parent or loved one is likely to react with resistance. Approaching the subject requires patience, love and a well though-out plan. There are a number of specific things to keep in mind that will help you approach the difficult conversation with a parent or loved one with greater success.
Here are the key things to keep in mind that Senior Home Assistance has developed through years of experience helping thousands of families with this process:
- Stress the benefits. Make quality in-home care provided by a professional caregiver desirable to your loved one. Those benefits for hiring in-home care for your parent will be: the freedom of living at home – surrounded by familiar things that they love – rather than having to move to an assisted living facility or nursing home; in-home care is usually less costly; your loved one will be given one-on-one attention; caring companionship; increased safety.
- Focus on independence. Explain why hiring a caregiver is a way for your loved one to maintain their independence in the comfort of their own home. If there have already been incidents (falling, couldn’t get to the bathroom, etc.) explain what could happen if they fall again – how it could lead to broken bones, surgery and hospitalization, followed by a lengthy recovery period. The same method could be used if they frequently forget to take medications, or often miss appointments. Having help doesn’t cost them their freedom and independence.
- A New Angle. If your parents still live together, try suggesting that in-home care would benefit their spouse. They may be more willing to accept the care for the sake of their loved one, even if it is equally beneficial for both parents. If they live alone, focus on concerns or activities that are important to them. For example, your loved one may deny needing help, but may be amenable to someone helping with housekeeping and preparing some meals. They may acknowledge that they don’t like to drive at night, but still want to attend church services.
- Take It On Yourself. Explain to your loved one how much you worry about them. If you have been acting as primary caregiver, explain that it has become too much on top of your career or parenting responsibilities. According to a recent study, 55 percent of Americans say being a burden on their family is their biggest concern regarding long-term care issues. Take this into consideration when approaching your loved one about accepting in-home help. You could say, “Dad, I’m worried about you n haven’t been able to sleep because of it. Would you be open to having someone help me with things around your house
- Dispel Fears. Your loved one may act hostile towards an in-home caregiver at times, but this action is most likely out of fear. Prior to attempting to alleviate this fear, it is important to understand it. Common fears include loss of independence, losing control and dignity and financial stresses. The presence of a caregiver is likely to leave your loved one feeling vulnerable. Take this into consideration when communicating with them, and respond with empathy rather than frustration. Realize how your own emotions may be impacting the conversation and increasing resistance. It is important to choose an appropriate time and place for these discussions and set aside time for them.
- Do A Trial Run. Try hiring an in-home caregiver for help on a short-term basis for respite, or recovery care, after being discharged from the hospital or after a fall. This provides an opportunity to show your parent that having a caregiver is not something to fear and often leads to them being open to receiving ongoing care. If they currently rely on you, another family member or friend as their primary caregiver or source of help, try using vacation as an excuse to bring in a professional caregiver while gone. Explain that it is for you more than them.
- Get Professional Help. Try discussing the situation with your loved one’s primary care physician (this is most likely someone they have known for years and trust). If they share your concern for your loved one, they are likely to help by talking to them, explaining why in-home care is the best option for them. Another option is to consult Senior Home Assistance for help. We have worked with thousands of families and will provide you with further advice on how to prevent resistance when introducing the possibility of new living arrangements with your loved one.