How do you get an elderly parent on board with in home care?

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I have been my dad's primary caregiver for 6 years now and find as he has become less able to care for himself that I am becoming overwhelmed. As I read in one of the stories here, my siblings are all involved when he is in the hospital or at a critical health state but quickly go back to their lives once the acute state is resolved, leaving me to provide the daily, more long term care. In addition to my full time job outside of the house, I juggle his home care, all of his doctor and medical appointments, his medications, etc. When I try to discuss some part time in home care, he insists that he can do for himself. How do I get him to understand without taking away what he seems to consider his last bit of independence?


Answers 1 to 10 of 12
Wow --- been there, done that! Actually, I've been struggling with getting my parents to accept a home caregiver for a couple of years. I know they think that someone in their home is invading their privacy and taking away their independence. However, after several hospitaliations and with help from the social worker, they finally agreed to a home caregiver for one day/week - 4 hours/day. Then, recently, they agreed to letting the caregiver come twice/week. One thing I did say to them was that I was getting so stressed and needed some help. I think that finally sunk into them. And, now, I'm working on trying a caregiver 3 times/week. .... baby steps :)
Check with your local senior center for services in your area. There may be people willing to come in for companionship for a start. Then they can slowly help him with chores and before you know it, he'll get used to the help and become more receptive to in home care. They really do hate to give up their independence, but if you go about it in the right way, you will succeed! Hope this helps.
Top Answer
My Mom was exactly like that when she first moved here. She didn't want some "stranger" in her home stealing her things. So I spoke with our hospital's social worker and got a referral of a couple of great in-home care companies. One owner actually came out to talk with my Mom and seemed to calm her fears. Then he hand-picked a caregiver for her and brought her by to introduce her to Mom. She just came once every two weeks or so. Now, whenever I get too busy she just says, "let's call Sadie to come over." Of course, with any in home help it is wise to stow away valuables and instruct your parents not to share personal information. If Sadie shops for Mom, I buy those grocery gift certificates so she doesn't have to handle money. It has worked out great and gives me a little break and Mom has another person to visit with. It also gives me a "back-up" person in case of an emergency. Like Rufus said above, "baby steps."
Kuli, you have just put into words what so many adult children out there have to contend with, when trying to help their elderly parents. Who knew that "helping" could ever be so hard?? If they would only LET us help them. I have to weigh in here....had the same situation with my ( very independent-minded ) parents. I like all the suggestions here so far. I ran into something similar to Rufus----I noticed one day that when I told my Dad that such-and-such "would put on a strain on me" , I seemed to see a lightbulb go off in his head, like he really got it. Somehow this thought cut through his dementia and he felt empathy for me. It's worth a try anyway..... Some elderly folks don't have dementia but they still are difficult to reason with because they don't want to give up their independence. It probably feels kind of scary to them.

You said two things that cause me concern...You said you have a full-time job outside of the home, and you said that you feel "overwhelmed". Good thing you came here to talk. You have a lot on your plate. I feel you need to take charge and do what's necessary to protect your own health. I found that when I started to fall apart, I was no good to my parents. So I started being more "selfish" and taking good care of myself----by getting counseling, seeing my own doctor, and asking for help from any professionals available. In your case, the professionals available would be the people from the in-home health care company. If I were in your shoes, I would call that company and ask them for help and advice. They will probably have ideas much like what Lilliiput and Deefer mentioned...like having someone bring a home care aid come over ( to start) just to meet your Mom and talk with her over a cup of tea. Tread gently yet firmly and with resolve. You have to somehow arrange this in-home care for your mother not only for her, but for the sake of your own health. In my case, my parents were both being very stubborn about moving out of their home into assisted living, and one day I just said to them point blank: "You have to move to ______" They reacted by getting quiet and just took it in. They still didn't agree to make this move, but they did start processing it in their minds. A month later they both experienced a fall at the same time and this convinced them it was time to move into assisted living, and the move was underway. By the way, just before my mother died, she thanked me for getting them to make this move, because now my father would be well taken care of after she passed on.

I remember another time when I was feeling desperate ( It sounds like you could be getting close to that point so you need to act soon. ) and I called a professional at the assisted living place and said something like: "I need a social worker to help me. I've reached the absolute limit of my own energies and ability to manage my parents regarding this move." This professional then stepped in to personally come over to my parent's house to talk with them and assist them and me with their move.

Oh , and lest I forget.....Pray! God is there to help you every step of the way. He will help and answer your prayers, and it's amazing to see Him line up "angels" to help you. Who knows if my parent's "accident" even came from Him. I believe it did, because that was the event that actually jump-started my parents' move into assisted living.

Good Luck Kuli!
anne123, and everyone here....thanks for the wonderful advice and support.
I am dealing with this problem now with my elderly Aunt and Uncle. She has dementia and he is right behind her, although still able to make appearances that he has it all under control. After months and months of refusals for help, it occurred to me that you can't (and really don't want to) win the independence fight. They want to be in control. So, I changed my approach: I said to my uncle..."I need your help...". I went on to explain that even though he had chosen me to help him make good decisions, it was weighing heavily on me and my family that I was having trouble helping them. I was losing sleep (which I am) worrying about what might happen next; what freedoms they might lose if they didn't act soon enough, or worse. I asked him if he could help me by considering the choices I presented for assistance. When he saw that he was able to help me, it changed his way of thinking and he felt in control of the "decisions" he could make. They want to retain control - so help them help you!
K:

Must be H__l juggling 3 jobs (Dad, the kid, and the 9-5) and hang on to your sanity. If you don't go out hunting for the Almighty Dollar every day, there won't be bacon in the fridge and milk for the baby. I shudder at the thought of walking a day in your shoes.

Since Dad isn't comfortable with bringing in someone to help that'll make him feel helpless, then he's going to have to take primary responsibility for his own care; including when you're home. As far as diabetes, he can watch what he eats so he can eat what he wants. In addition to medication, reducing mental & physical stress also helps with HBP.

Allowing him to take charge of things he's capable of will enhance his self-esteem, promote a degree of self-sufficiency, keep him fairly active, and prevent trips to hospitals that seem designed to make people sick(er) just to milk their insurance. Also, when people become walking pharmacies it's easy to condition oneself to believe there isn't much we can do to help ourselves.

As for your sibs, don't hold your breath. A simple phone call to ask how YOU are holding up and offer a smidgen of assistance with Dad is just too cumbersome.

"Give a man to fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime."

Good night my friend.
It may not be easy, but always keep in mind that what you are doing is to help your parent, even when help means you help yourself to survive. A social worker can be a great resource to find a good home care company. Your parent's insurance might pay for a consultation, or look online for free or low cost services. I am excited to be checking into an agency for my parents that has everything from companion care to nursing to pallitive and hospice. You may want to consider future needs and look for a company that offers all these services, so at least the caregivers come from a constant source.
Both my parents have been diagnosed with cancer in the last 2 months. Although they are still able to care for themselves now, it may not be long before that changes. We met with a social worker last week and got lots of info on home care. The social worker even did their applications for ride service! My mom refused to speak to the social worker, she just sat their glaring at everyone. But the information and help I got was worth it.
Does anyone have experience convincing a loved one that they are financially good? My mother has a 'feeling' that she has no money, despite that I show her statements, our talks, and me leaving her notes. It's all about her 'feeling'. Any suggestions?
Sometimes the family dynamic is such that it's hard for a parent to listen to anything coming from a child, even if they know their child is right and trying to act in their best interest. Sometimes bringing in someone from the outside is your best bet - a family friend, or a geriatric care manager can help to overcome the resistance. They don't want to feel like they are being a burden, and they usually don't want to deal with something new, but after the fact, they are usually okay, so don't be too hard on yourself. One option you might consider is inviting two companies into your home and letting him chose who he wants to work for him. That way he gets a say, but you get a care service.

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