How Home Health Care Helped My Mom

Talking To Your Aging Parent About Getting In-Home Care

by Stanley Pierce

Elderly parents are often resistant to the idea of bringing in outside help with day-to-day activities, even if they know they are not able to do as much as they used to. Tact and patience are essential when broaching this very sensitive topic.

Make Home Care Desirable

Talk about the advantages of having someone to help, such as being able to stay in their home. Point out the lower cost of home care as opposed to assisted living, and the one-on-one attention they will receive instead of being just another resident in a facility. Tell them how you worry about them, and how it would ease your mind. If one parent is caring more for the other, tell them how much better it will be for their spouse to have some help.

Get the Support of a Trusted Professional

Your parents' primary care physician is probably someone they trust, so talk to him about concerns you have. If he feels home care is a good idea, have him talk to your parents. If the doctor isn't an option, enlist the aid of a professional geriatric care manager who has special expertise in determining this need and can teach you how to overcome your parents' resistance.

Talk about Maintaining Their Independence

If your parents are physically unable to carry out the everyday activities of life, such as shopping, cooking or maintaining a clean home, point out how nice it would be to have help with these things so they can continue to enjoy them. If memory problems make it difficult for them to follow a medication regimen or they are constantly forgetting doctor's appointments, point out how much healthier they will be and how much better they will feel with someone there to help them. Also point out how they can get out more with someone to drive and help them lift and carry.

Try It Before You Buy It

Let your parents start out slowly with a short-term home care aide, or maybe only have the aide there for a day or two a week at first. Many times, their hostility toward an outsider is because of fear and a feeling of vulnerability. Easing them into having a full-time caregiver will give them time to see that it may not be as bad as they think. Let them help interview and choose the person they want, instead of making that decision yourself.

It's important to pick the time and place for your home care discussion carefully. Try to stay calm and don't let your emotions raise their level of anxiety. Bring in a trusted professional, such as a family doctor, to back you up if needed. Remember, you are asking parents who are already feeling vulnerable and afraid to trust a perfect stranger in their home with very personal things, so go slowly and try to ease them into the situation over time.

For home health care, contact a business such as BrightStar Care of Naples/Ft. Myers.