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Will My Parent Resent Me if I Suggest In-Home Caregiving for Them?

Sometimes it’s difficult to broach specific topics with your elderly parents, such as their finances, legal issues like advance directives, estate planning, safety at home, when they should stop driving, and so on. These sensitive topics aren’t easy to weave into just any conversation, and without careful preparation, tempers may flare. It’s important to do some homework before you dive into these subjects so your emotions (or your parents’) don’t get the best of you.

One topic that may be difficult for you to bring up with your parent(s) is the possibility of enlisting the help of in-home care. But what if you notice your aging parent is falling behind on tasks, or their house isn’t as well kept as it once was, or perhaps they’re lacking in their typical personal hygiene when it was never a problem in the past? If they’re becoming forgetful and you’re concerned, particularly if it involves their health, you may wonder how to take action before something unexpected or even tragic happens. For example, if your parent takes medication and suddenly starts to miss important doses of their medicine used to manage a chronic illness like diabetes or misses their doctor’s appointment to manage that same chronic illness, it could lead to a disaster.

But what can you do if your suggestion is met with hostility or flat-out refusal to discuss the matter further?

What You Can Do if a Parent Refuses In-Home Caregiving Help

If you decide to bring up the subject of hiring a caregiver for your parents, remember that you cannot force a parent who refuses help. You also must accept the possibility that your suggestion could be shut down if your parent thinks you are implying they are feeble and forgetful. Try to approach it from a place of compassion and positivity rather than blame and alarm. You should also be aware that even if it is obvious to you that your parent is no longer as competent as they once were and that they could benefit from some assistance at home, that it’s common for seniors to hesitate accepting elder care in any form. No matter how well-intentioned you are in your pleas when asking your parent to consider professional in-home care, they may resist what they consider a drastic change to their habits and lifestyle.

It's frightening and alarming for anyone to accept that they’re getting older and noticing actual symptoms of it. Their sense of pride and control is threatened as they must come to grips with the fact that their cognitive, physical, and other abilities are starting to decline, and this may make them feel misunderstood or helpless. They may also feel a loss of identity and value as a person, as getting older is seen as a less desirable trait in society due to ageist stereotypes and stigma that persist. But you can help them see that you don’t view them as any of these negative stereotypes and you’re coming from a place of concern, compassion, and a desire to help.

How to Evaluate Your Aging Parent’s Refusal to Get In-Home Help

How you go about talking to a parent who refuses help should be a multipronged strategy. You can reassure your parent with empathy and approach them from a place of positivity rather than metaphorically hammer them over the head with their limitations and why they must accept that they need extra help at home. That will likely cause only make them dig in their heels more in their refusal to accept your help. Validate their concerns and tell them nothing will change and that they they will remain at home rather than having to go to an outside facility. You can even flip the script and explain to your parent that your concerns are becoming a burden and that it would set your mind at ease if they accepted in-home help. If your parents still refuse to budge, you may need to include an outside opinion to persuade them that this is the best course for them to take. For instance, you may turn to their physician, a social worker, their closest friends, or even a trusted religious figure who can tell your parent that your concerns are valid. This has a twofold effect; it shows your parent that their situation does warrant help at home and it also displays the genuine affection you have for your parent and that you care deeply about their wellbeing.

Giving Your Parents Options for In-Home Caregiving

Your parent has plenty of options for in-home caregiving, and they can start small and build from there. They have the freedom of choice, so you should communiate this to them. Express to your parent that their input matters and that they aren’t locked into any one program or even one caregiver if they don’t get along with a particular aide. However, you can still set boundaries with your parent when it comes to their care so they know what to expect and that you won’t give up after, say, just one day of care. Present them with options, such as a plan that will include two days of care per week to start out, or a few days of care just to help with simple tasks like driving to appointments or help with errands such as picking up groceries. This can coax your parent into warming up to the idea of welcoming further help as they realize it actually takes a great weight off their shoulders that they didn’t even realize they were facing.

If you are considering at-home care for your parent, contact At Home Healthcare for a phone consultation by calling (877) 959-9093 now.

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Our compassionate team promotes health, healing and wholeness for our neighbors where it matters most – At Home.

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