Courtesy of Lucie and David Shaw from Nurse Next Door.
Tips to getting parents to accept help…
#1 Seek the advice of a trusted professional
A Physician can be your best ally in getting your parents to accept help. Alternatively, we often find that by just bringing in Nurse Next Door for a free consultation and having an outside “expert” opinion can go a long way.
#2 Hire a caregiver to manage some household chores and NOT actual “hands-on care” or personal assistance.
Often times this is seen as less threatening to a loved one’s independence and will serve as a means to “get the caregiver in the door”. Place the emphasis on getting help handling the “chores” such as vacuuming, laundry, grocery shopping and even meal preparation.
#3 If both parents are at home, direct your attention to the less needy one. For instance, suggest he/she would be the one to benefit from outside help even when they both might. By allying yourself with the more independent parent, you may ultimately be able to get them both to accept the help they require.
Or, tell Dad that Mom needs more help. Then, tell Mom the same thing about Dad. That way, each might believe they’re doing the best thing for the other. And they are.
#4 Focus on YOU as the caregiver needing the help and NOT them needing assistance.
“I’m not sleeping; I can’t eat and can’t think at work because I am worried about you. Please do this for me; work with me to come up with a solution we can both live with.”
Because your parents love you, use that relationship. They’ve always taken care of you, and helping you with this dilemma is just another thing they can do for you.
#5 Show them a few nursing homes as an alternative.
Tour some nursing homes. Let them make the choice of whether they want to move or stay at home. Tell them that if they want to stay at home for as long as possible (or forever!), then hiring a caregiver is going to a long way in making that come true!
#6 Give them a potential out.“Let’s try this for two months. If you still don’t like having someone help you with the chores, then we can consider other options.”
#7 Discuss money.
The current generation of seniors grew up through World Wars and the Great Depression. Money is always on their mind. Let them know there are lots of options (that house that they have been living in for 50 years is now worth a lot of money!) and that they have plenty of savings (if they do). Let them know that spending money on their happiness and keeping them in their own home is worth far more to you than a few extra dollars of inheritance.
#8 Show them the stats.
1 out of every 3 seniors will fall this year, and almost all injury related hospitalizations are the result of a simple fall. Chances are they have already experienced a fall or two. Do they realize how serious this is to their chances of staying at home for as long as possible? Do they realize that a little bit of help may prevent these things from happening?
#9 Ask them about their fears…and their goals.
Aging parents can be fearful that if they bring this up with their children, that their children will start to worry and the road towards being placed into a nursing home against their wishes will inevitably come. So the issue of getting help is never discussed. Ask them about what they fear about getting older (recent studies show that the #1 fear of aging is losing independence and the #2 fear is moving out of their own home and into a nursing home). Then ask them what their goals are and start working together to help make these goals come true.
#10 And if all else fails… Hire a “friend” to help your parent.
For example, schedule a rendezvous at their favorite restaurant, have lunch… I know, it isn’t being completely honest but it could mean the difference between getting the help you need for you and your parents and watching your parent end up in a situation they don’t want to be in.