Almost weekly we hear from someone who is struggling to arrange support for one or both of their parents. The struggle is due to resistance from their ageing parents who keep insisting that they don’t need help yet!
Sound familiar? If this is a struggle you are currently going through you are certainly not alone. Here is one story from the many we have heard.
The worried 60-year-old woman tells a familiar story: “My 84-year-old father was always the boss at work and home and is used to being in charge,” she says. “Now, even though his mind and body don’t work so well, he still won’t listen to me or allow me to do anything for him. As family we are increasingly worried that he will have a fall or an accident and that this will result in an even more serious consequence.”
In trying to work through this it is important to try and put yourself in your parent’s shoes and understand them. To many elderly people, accepting help spells the beginning of the end, a loss of function and independence. Thus, even (and, sometimes, especially) when they desperately need it they are most resistive and will stubbornly fend off all well-intentioned efforts to help.
Over time, we, along with many other aged care professionals, have seen some things that can help in these challenging situations. We compiled them in a set of 9 tips which you can download below.
Finally, remember, the decision to get home care is never an easy one. Finding the right home care provider and CAREgiver is critical to the success of all home care. When you do find the right CAREgiver to help with a parent it can relieve a lot of stress and be a positive experience for everyone.
I hope the 9 tips will help you and encourage you to call us to see how we can help in your situation.
9 tips to help you convince your parents to accept help
- Ask them about their fears and goals
Studies show that the greatest fear of ageing is losing your independence and that most elderly people want to stay in their own homes as long as they can. Have an open discussion with your parents and ask them what their goals are and then start working together to help make these goals come true.
- Show them the stats
A person’s risk of falling increases as they age. 1 in 4 people over 60 will fall each year. By the age of 65 this number rises to 1 in 3. The majority of elderly injury-related hospitalisations are the result of a simple fall. With appropriate help the incidence of falls is significantly reduced.
- Direct your attention to the more independent parent
If both parents are still living together it may help to direct your efforts to the stronger one. Suggest that their spouse would be the one to benefit from outside assistance even when they both might and you may ultimately be able to get them both to accept the support they require.
- Make it about you
Instead of saying “this is something you need”, try “I know you don’t need it, but this would make me feel better”. This may make a parent feel they are doing you the favour. Suggest that by having a companion or support worker stay with your loved one, it would relieve you of worries and concerns while away.
- Call upon a trusted healthcare professional
Another idea might be to seek the help and advice of a trusted professional whom your parents hold in high regard. You might be surprised by their willingness to accept the advice of a long time family physician, a former or current nurse, or other relative or friend in the medical field.
- Tour nursing homes to compare the alternative
Tour some nursing homes together. Let them make the choice of whether they want to move or stay at home.Tell them that if they want to stay at home for as long as possible (or forever!), then having a personal support worker is going a long way in making that come true!
- Start small – give them a potential out
Start small with some home help. It lets your parents test the waters and experience the benefits. Say, “Let’s try this for two months. If you still don’t like having help with the chores, then we can discuss other options.” Once they realise the help makes their life easier they may be more ready to accept further help.
- Don’t be afraid to discuss money
After growing up through World Wars and the Depression, our elderly are careful with money. Let them know there are lots of options (e.g. their house is now worth a lot of money!) and that spending money on their happiness and keeping them in their own home is worth far more to you than a few extra dollars of inheritance.
- If all else fails enlist the support of a friend to help
Get the support of a friend who has your parents’ trust. It may just be the difference between getting the help both you and your parents need and watching your parents end up in a situation neither of you want to be in.
The decision to get home care is never an easy one. Finding the right home care provider is critical to the success of in home care. Make sure you feel comfortable dealing with your provider and it will relieve a lot of stress and be a positive experience for everyone.