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Caring for Your Aging Parent When They Don't Want Help

couple hugging
By Claudette Forbes

Sometimes, it seems like you know your parents need a little help, even before they do. When you visit you can see that their hygiene may be slipping, or you may notice overdue notices for bills stacked on the table. They may have missed doctor’s appointments and have even stopped seeing their friends.

When you suggest it’s time to hire a caregiver to help them around the house, instead of being grateful, they are outraged. They tell you to mind your place or perhaps just let you know they are fine and don’t need help.

This is a very common scenario. In American culture especially, we see our independence as a critical part of our identity. Losing even a tiny part of that is losing a part of ourselves. Your parents may not want help for a variety of reasons, including that loss of identity, not wanting to be a burden on others, and not wanting to admit they’re getting older.

Despite this, it’s better to get them help now when they’re still mostly independent than after a major health crisis. Here are a few ways you can help convince your parents that a caregiver is the right choice for them.

Make it about you

Your parents have made it clear that they won’t get a caregiver for themselves—but what if it wasn’t for them? Most parents will do just about anything for a child and that doesn’t change as they age. When discussing a caregiver with your parents, explain that you’re worried about them and would feel better if they had someone around to help.

While they may not need a caregiver for themselves, they may be willing to at least try having a caregiver if it’s for the sake of their child and their peace of mind.

Give Them Freedom of Choice

Instead of simply asking them to get a caregiver, try showing them as many different options as possible. This will still give your parent the freedom of choice and make the process easier. Examples of choices could be how often they want a caregiver, who to go with, and what sort of services they are hoping to get.

Start off Small

If your parents are still reluctant to have a caregiver, suggest they start off with a small amount of time each week just to see if they like it. If it is just once a week for an hour, they may feel less likely to argue than if they suddenly have a full-time caregiver.

This also gives them a chance to see the benefits of having a caregiver. They may not love the idea of a caregiver, but may realize they enjoy it when someone is there to drive them to appointments or help run errands. They may even decide to increase the time on their own.

It’s important to respect your parent’s wishes if they truly don’t want to have a caregiver. It’s also okay to try and persuade them gently if you really think it will help. Once your parents discover the benefits of a caregiver, they’ll be glad you did, and may even thank you over time.

For more information, or for a free in-home consultation, contact the professional and compassionate caregivers at Homewatch CareGivers of Woodbridge today.

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