Among the hardest conversations you'll likely have with your parents is talking about accepting help at home. It places you in a role reversal you may never be truly ready for. Suddenly you're now responsible for the person who raised you. Your mom or dad who taught you how to drive, helped you get dressed, cooked your meals and took you to sporting events is now unable to remember to take their medication and needs help getting to their doctor's appointment and going grocery shopping. The conversation is difficult for both of you as it represents a loss of independence for your parents and means you have to tell your parents you need help caring for them.
Understand Your Parents Point Of View About In-Home Help
Before starting to push too hard for your parents to get help at home, it's helpful to understand their point of view. Many are fearful about aging and fear of loss of independence. One survey found the elderly are more fearful of losing their independence than they are of dying. Your parents have likely lived through good times and bad all on their own and feel they'll be fine continuing doing it all on their own.
In addition to these fears and concerns, many find it difficult to believe their children can understand the physical and emotional toll aging takes on their lives. Your parents may feel they have suddenly gone from being completely independent to in need of help to live in their own home. You may have seen the decline happening slowly, but for them, it came on quite suddenly. It's normal to feel helpless, frustrated and guilty all while trying to help your older parents get help at home.
How Do You Start The Conversation About Getting In-Home Help?
When you can start with the knowledge your parents are fearful about moving forward and aging, as well as a loss of independence, it makes the entire conversation a little easier for both of you. Here are some conversation starters that may help you and your parents begin a difficult conversation.
I can't always be here when you need me. This is a time to stress that in-home care can match your parent's schedule and have someone available to help during the hours they need help. Unfortunately, this sometimes happens when you're at work or otherwise unavailable caring for your own family. Homecare can be tailored to what they need and when they need it, such as someone helping with glucose testing, getting to appointments or helping with housework.
I understand it's difficult to let someone into your home. Maybe technology is an option? Especially in the early stages when your parents may not need someone there consistently, wearable heart monitors and other wearable technology can offer 24-hour assistance to monitor your parent’s health when no one is in the home. This also offers another starting point for a conversation when wearable technology demonstrates your parents need for additional help.
I know that you don't want to leave your home to live somewhere else. Because assisted living communities and nursing homes are not the only options anymore, your parents have access to a qualified home care professional who can assist them with exactly what they're looking for.
What Are Your Other Options When Talking To Your Parents About In-home Care?
As you talk with your parents, make sure you ask questions about why they don't want help. Don't assume you know the answer. In this way you can tailor make a solution that answers their concerns about a lack of privacy, cost of care, losing independence or having a stranger in their home, without assuming those are their concerns.
Sometimes it's easier for your parents to talk to someone outside of the family so don't hesitate to enlist the help of a trusted friend or professional, such as their doctor, nurse, or minister. Above all, it's important to take the process slowly and not rush your parents. This means starting early in relaxed conversations, long before a crisis has occurred, with questions like, “Mom, do you want to live at home as you get older?” or “How do you feel about hiring a housekeeper so you can stay at home?”
Would You Like Some Additional Ideas?
At Harmony, we understand how difficult this conversation can be. We are here to help you design a plan to talk with your parents and help them meet potential in-home help who can support their desire to stay home. Call us today, and we’ll help you with resources, ideas, and support.