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Talking to Seniors About Home Assistance

September 17, 2015, 08:56 AM

The seniors in your life may not see eye-to-eye with you about hiring homecare. Homecare can be a sensitive topic that brings up emotional topics such as aging and mortality, independence, privacy, and financial issues. On the other hand, it’s important to broach the subject despite the difficulty when it is in the senior’s best interest. Every situation and set of circumstances is unique, so below are a few approaches (not just one) that may be helpful when the time comes for you to and the aging loved-ones in your life to have this discussion.

Image Source (CC BY 2.0) by Chip Griffin via flickr

Image Source (CC BY 2.0) by Chip Griffin via flickr

It’s me, not you

It can be hard for an aging person to recognize that they needs help, especially in the privacy of their own home where they are used to being in control. The thought of bringing in an aid can be embarrassing to the point where no amount of discussion or logic will overcome the emotional barrier. In these cases, it may be helpful to suggest that the home care aid is not really for the elderly person but rather for the relevant family members’ peace of mind. Explaining that while the senior certainly doesn’t need help, it would allow the child to sleep better, may be the excuse that works for all parties involved.

Work up to it slowly

Homecare does not need to be all day, every day from day one. Like any major change in life, it may help to transition slowly. Hiring a homecare aid even for a few hours a week, and having the aid start by focusing on home-related tasks such as light cleaning and food preparation, instead of the patient, can help seniors adjust. It will take time to get used to having a stranger in the home, but a little exposure at a time can help everyone ease into the new arrangement as smoothly as possible. This also creates space for the senior to request extra hours or tasks from the homecare professional, putting him back in charge of the house and daily routine.

Work together

The last thing an elderly parent wants is to feel like their roles have reversed with their children. Make hiring homecare a collaborative effort, as opposed to part of how you are now taking care of your parents. Start early by looking for a housekeeper together, before formal homecare becomes necessary. That way, when the time comes, it will be only natural that you are a part of this process as well. Do the research and offer options when coming up with homecare arrangements, but after narrowing it down to all good choices, let the loved one have the final say. Not only is this an important step in empowering the senior and securing cooperation, but it is the right and respectful thing to do considering they, not you, will be the one spending time with this new person in their home.

As long as you approach the patient about the possibility of hiring a home care provider with patience and compassion, it will be obvious that you are taking this initiative out of love. And that should be well received by any parent at any age.

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