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Our elderly parents have a need for local housecleaners, which I can get from the local senior center and Meals on Wheels, as my mom can't cook anymore. My dad, her caregiver, won't accept "charity", even though he paid his taxes and his kids are willing to pay for the housekeeping. Mom needs a daily companion (moderate dementia) to give him a break and he's resistant to accept change in his routine. He is 86 and still drives, she is 87.

Being elderly , but not yet at your parents age , I come at it from a different angle . I am my husband’s caregiver . He has Alzheimer’s and it’s tough to lose your love , your friend , your sounding board etc . I have children and grandchildren who help and are always here for us but I know we will soon need a bit more help ,with housekeeping, as I still love to cook although husbands tastes have changed so I’m adapting. My children feel that we do need more help now and possibly they are right . Thank God tho they don’t have a “let them learn the hard way “ attitude but realize that this is a great adjustment for us . I am blessed that they know me well enough to realize that I need to process these changing circumstances . Being treated as a competent adult goes a long way in helping reach the right decision . As it’s my husband who is the one that doesn’t want cleaning help what we have decided is that instead of the usual birthday , anniversary , mother’s day etc gifts from our family they would gift us with a maid from time to time . In this way he would not be able to refuse the help as he would hurt his beloved children’s feelings .
believe me I know how hard it is to deal with “stubborn “ parents as I too dealt with my own aging parents but taking away our dignity and treating us as children makes it worse for everyone . Do what needs to be done but please do it with kindness , compassion and empathy because one day you will be us .
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disgustedtoo Jul 12, 2019
For those resistant, sometimes telling them it is a friend helping out, OR that it is helping YOU, not him often can work.

Clearly you still have your wits about you and know that it will become harder to manage everything yourself and that you might need more assistance than is being given in the future, but using various excuses to get those who do resist to accept it isn't really treating anyone with less dignity or like a child, it is just a little subterfuge to get over the resistance!

Those who resist but don't have any dementia might need a different approach. I know that initially when we hired aides to check mom/meds taken, we used the doctor/Medicare asking/covering and she raved about it (she has dementia.) After a few months, she refused to let them in, period. There was no way around that, so she had to move to MC.
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I think I would explain that what he is doing is "providing jobs" in a time when people are having difficulty surviving, often working two jobs because they need to eat and keep a roof over their heads. I think that I would tell him that our government has decided they SAVE money with meals on wheels and keep seniors in their homes. That if people do not make use of this program it will soon disappear and all who are depending upon it will go down with it. If that doesn't work, well, then likely not much will.
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lablover64 Jul 10, 2019
That is a good way to approach it. Appeal to their sense of citizenship in their community. May not hurt to tell them that it is, in a way, helping YOU because you don't feel under the gun or guilty about looking after these details for them.
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My mother cleaned my grandmother's house and did the laundry for years. I took the tack that I was not going to be able to personally help her the same way she had helped Grandma because I had to work a job, but that job did provide enough money to hire someone to do the heavy housecleaning chores that were hardest on her back. I stressed that she needed to take better care of herself if she was going to continue taking care of my father with vascular dementia. I told her how awful I felt when certain chores I "should" be helping her with went undone. I said she might not really need the help now, but that she would eventually and it was better to start now and find someone she really liked. I clearly stated I would feel so much better if she accepted some help. I found with both my parents that stating things would actually help their spouse or me was more effective than saying it was something he/she needed.
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Tothill Jul 10, 2019
TNt, I used a similar approach with Dad. He watched me spend 6 hours cleaning his stove, which he did not think was all that dirty.

He wants to maintain his independence as much as possible. Eventually I was able to have him understand that having someone over the clean the house is not giving up independence, it is allowing him to use his limited energy for other activities that he truly enjoys. Of course he was not cleaning in the first place, but it worked and he agreed to a housekeeper.

There is a meals program near Dad that offers really good meals for $5-$10 each. They have entrees and soups, homemade and frozen. He quite likes them and that he gets to choose the ones he buys helps with the feeling of independence.
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Is the reluctance to accept charity a real reason, or do you suspect that it's the intrusion of strangers that puts your father off the idea more?

What I'd suggest, either way, is that one or more of you "children" be present when the cleaner or the MOW driver arrives so that you can make introductions and mediate the first contacts to see that all goes smoothly. Once he knows the people personally he may feel less apprehensive about them. You can but try.

He may also fear the "thin end of the wedge" scenario: that accepting this help is the first admission he can't cope which leads ultimately to their being "put in a home." But the opposite is true: it is by accepting practical support that he and your mother will be best able to stay in their own place.

If he still won't hear of it, what about organising respite care for your mother so that your father gets some real time off rather than an hour or two here and there? Remind him that a significant proportion of caregivers die before the person they look after, and that your mother would be utterly lost without him - he owes it to her to take proper care of himself.
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Ask him what he is willing to pay and get him to make it as a donation to the senior centre who will be delighted to receive it no doubt. You can negotiate amount with him such that he is paying something but not what a different service would cost. Let him keep his pride and you feel happy that necessary things are getting done, and your parents provided with a decent meal.
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Lizard61 Jul 11, 2019
Thanks! Will try that approach.
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Mother DESPERATELY needs housecleaning. She think she is maintaining the 'image' of herself as fairly independent, but in truth, she needs one day a week DEEP CLEANING and probably a quick touch up 3 times a week. Putting yet more towels on a urine soaked recliner does NOT make it 'clean'. Having 4 air spritzers going off all day and night does not make a room 'clean'.

I made the mistake of introducing her to Marie Kondo's 'clutter free' life that I had partially adapted. She thought it was a great plan and I offered to do her place.

EPIC FAIL.

In my haste to finally get my hands on her hoard, I didn't pick up that she was well and truly a hoarder. The first night she went out to the huge trash bin and retrieved everything we'd agreed to throw away. I came the 2nd day and soon found out she'd had a panic attack thinking of her 'treasures' just being tossed. I was unable to retrieve anything from GoodWill and she still mourns it.

It not only ended the 'deep clean' it ended ANY cleaning.

My niece borrowed $1000 from her so she could go on a choir trip. She is 'paying' mother back by cleaning every week. Good thing mother's vision is so bad....niece is kinda odd and a lousy cleaner. She flips a feather duster around the house and shakes some comet in the toilet and flushes it. Done!

This place needs a complete, every drawer, cabinet and shelf overhaul. She keeps getting YB to build her more and more little rolling cabinets for her 'stuff'. I queried her a few months ago as to what was IN one of these and she shouted "DON'T OPEN THAT' just a second too slow. Out tumbles 20 years' worth of TV guides. She would not let me toss ONE.

She won't PAY anyone to clean and she won't take 'charity'. Sometimes she can get my favorite brother to wash the windows, but no actual cleaning has really taken place in 3 years. The place stinks to high heaven--she has a cage of cockatiels that has not been washed in years. Poop piled up to the ceiling of the cage--feathers everywhere. It makes me sick to go in her place, literally.

She did get MOW when she was 100% laid up after a knee replacement. Hated them. Hated letting strangers in the house. Hated paying $5 for 'crap'.

You cannot force people to do the smart or right thing. This becomes more and more apparent as I watch my mother become what she so hated when she was younger: Smelly, dirty and old. We can rectify all that---but obviously she doesn't care anymore. Charity or 'paying' someone--if they don't want your help., you may as well forget about it.
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Lizard61 Jul 11, 2019
Sounds like intervention time with a social worker! Good luck, not a safe place for her or the pets. Animal welfare could be considered.
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Thanks for your thoughts and ideas. Will have a heart to heart with Dad on Sunday. Cross your fingers and pray for me!
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DollyMe Jul 11, 2019
Good Luck!
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Been there and my mom didn’t learn until her health was affected. She was in denial about the truth of the situation when my dad’s health was going downhill. She tried to maintain life as usual. But of course, there was nothing usual about their life anymore. When she ended up with pneumonia and a bad back, reality hit. Upon the insistence of me and my sisters, we sent in the cleaning ladies every two weeks and meals on wheels. Although she complained about it, she was relieved to have the help. My dad ended up in a nursing home because my mother just couldn’t care for him at home anymore. We all worked at the time, and I lived 350 miles away, so we couldn’t offer much help other than some common sense and reality checks for my mother.

Her health is what changed the dynamic.
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I feel you. My mom same way. I think they don't want to see themselves as that needy, one of " those people"

They get weird. Particularly if depression era generation.

Ok. Mom or dad. You have helped so many others, now they are going to help you.

Most often, they don't GET that you can't do it. It does not get through.

I hope this is helpful. I dont know that it is.

Try to redirect the meaning. It is your turn now, because you did for so many others. I had limited success with that.
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Daisy9 Jul 12, 2019
The depression generation, the greatest generation, and older baby boomers were deeply instilled/taught to stand on their own feet, and not look to the government or anyone else for support. We worked for what we had and did not expect anyone to support us like the younger generation who frequently "borrows" from their elders so they can continue to eat out, buy new cars and vacation as they choose instead of cutting corners to pay for their own needs. THAT explains why the "older" generation has such a difficult time letting others come in to help them. It is NOT being "needy". The people who refused to work in their generation(s) were known as "bums". However, when any sort of dementia happens the victim literally can't see what is wrong and how far they have slipped. My MIL insisted she had no memory problems. She forgot that she was forgetful, didn't know which day it was, and said "I just washed my hands" several hours after doing so. She died as a direct result of refusing to wash her hands. Four days after moving to an ALF she did not know she had moved. She also stated she went to the Dr., DDS, and eye doctor every month. In her mind she had just left their office(s), and of course, b/c she could not remember anything, always said "I got a good report", even though a diagnosis had been for some type of change or update. Think about this while we are still of good mind. Would we like a parade of different people messing around our house? Bathing us? Poking around while trying to clean? No, especially if we could not understand why that person was present and what they were doing. We like our privacy and that must be given up to allow people in our homes. Unfortunately I see both sides in most situations.
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Can you explain that charity is love. Maybe addressing it from the true definition would help him be less defensive of accepting the love offered.
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