When you have an aging relative who is getting to the point where it might not be the best option for them to live without assistance for much longer, it can be a difficult time. Some hard decisions may have to be made. The process can take a toll both on your loved one, and on you and your family. Old age is never going to be easy, but with the right knowledge, strategies, tips, and insight, you can learn to navigate old age as a caregiver, so that you can ensure your loved one is able to enjoy this late stage of their lives in peace – and more importantly, in their own home.
Independence is key when it comes to old age. No one wants to live 75% of their life being the master or mistress of their own destiny, only to have their freedom and independence stripped from them when they reach old age. With that in mind, one of the best ways to allow your loved ones to maintain much of their independence, while also ensuring that they have a helping hand standing by them at all times, is through in-home care. In-home care services for seniors is a popular form of elderly care because it ensures that your loved one can remain in their home comfortably – a place where they feel safe and independent. If you are new to in-home care, or if you are interested in getting buy-in on the idea from your loved one and the rest of your family, this article will provide you with some guidance on how you can go about introducing the topic – and at the very least, interested in the idea. Take a look down below to get started.
Remember, your loved one has likely spent most of their adult life caring for themselves. They’ve made it this far in life, and they might believe that they can make it even further without a single person helping them out along the way. Even though everyone – including them! – knows that this is unrealistic for the long haul, giving them space and the chance to make their case is absolutely critical. The dawning realization that total independence is not feasible, once an elderly person gets to a certain stage, can be frightening, stressful, overwhelming, and full of anxiety.
Hearing out your loved one’s fears, and allowing them to express their emotions is one of the most important things you can do when looking to transition them into in-home care. When they know that their opinion matters, they’ll be more likely to hear you out and to remain open-minded. Listen to their concerns, make compromises, determine just where their fears and anxieties lie – and when you do that, you’ll be able to more easily address the mental and emotional barriers to in-home care.
Acknowledge your loved one’s right to have control over their own lives by bringing them into the decision-making process and, specifically, the interview process. This also serves to erode resistance to the idea of a caregiver. Allow your loved one to get to know the caregiver(s) whom you want to bring in, and make sure that their expectations, as well as your own, are realistic and reasonable. Open communication is key throughout this process, and it’ll only serve to ensure a positive experience for all parties involved.
We always recommend starting slow and simple at first. When the time comes to begin in-home care, start by having an in-home aide come once a week for about an hour at a time. This will help to expose your loved one to the process, and it’ll help them get used to the fact that someone will be paying them a regular visit from time to time. That person isn’t there to impinge on their independence. Instead, the caregiver is there to help and monitor and to make sure that things are going smoothly.
From there, once your loved one begins to get used to their new in-home caregiver, you can increase the frequency of their visits. Go from once a week to twice a week. Then, add on additional tasks to their workload, and see how your loved one responds. If things seem to be going smoothly, then you’ve opened your loved one up to the idea that in-home care services for seniors can actually provide them with some much-needed support – and when you choose the right caregiver, you’ll find that the added company and socialization will pay dividends as well, too.
Another good idea to open your loved one up to the idea of in-home care is to start small with a different in-home service like housekeeping. Many older people simply aren’t equipped to maintain their homes in the ways that they used to be able to. They might struggle to carry vacuum cleaners up and downstairs, they might not be able to get down on their hands and knees to clean bathrooms, floors, carpets, etc., and they might not even have the energy or the willpower to do so.
With that in mind, housekeeping is always a good way to get your loved one used to the idea of someone new coming into their home to provide a service. You might get some pushback at first, but once you ease into the process, you’ll likely find that your loved one will begin to enjoy living in a clean, safe, and organized home. They’ll have more time to enjoy doing the things that they like to do, and they won’t feel pressured to risk injury simply to clean their home.
As they begin to get used to in-home services like housekeeping, gardening, and more, you can then introduce them to more preventative and caregiving services that are rendered in-home as well.
If it gets to the point where your loved one simply won’t budge, you can shift the focus to yourself and appeal to their sense of compassion. Instead of making it seem like your desire to begin in-home care is due to their inability to care for themselves, make it about you and your abilities and time. Tell them that in-home care services help you out, more than they help out your loved one. Talk about such things as your inability to take off from work, your lack of availability throughout the week, or your lack of knowledge of senior care.
Going this route could certainly be effective, but it is also something that you’d want to be careful with. You don’t want to create a toxic conversation; you simply want to ensure that they become more receptive to the idea. If you’re able to put the blame on yourself in a way that doesn’t create negativity around the conversation, then you might be able to persuade your loved one into thinking that they aren’t losing their independence and they aren’t incapable – it’s just that you can’t be there to help them if they require it.
This last course of action may not be for everyone, as it requires a bit of deception on your part – so you’ll have to decide for yourself if this is something that you’re comfortable with. If your loved one isn’t going to be paying for their in-home care, then you could potentially tell them that the service you’re bringing into their home is free or subsidized. In other words, you pay for the service yourself, but tell your loved one that it is, in fact, a free or lower-cost service that they should take advantage of.
While they might not be thrilled with the idea, they may be a bit more open to it – and all you need is just a little bit of an opening to get them to see the benefits of in-home senior care.
With that in mind, it’s time for you to take what you’ve learned in this article and give it a shot. Remember, convincing your loved one that in-home care is needed won’t be an easy task. In fact, it may be difficult, challenging, and probably emotional – all of that is to be expected. However, with the right approach, you might be able to minimize the negativity and turn it into something positive, encouraging, and empowering.
Frame it in a way that makes your loved one believe that they can get their life back. They won’t have to spend so much time cleaning their home, they can have a say in the process, it isn’t for them, it’s for you, etc. You can do this – and so can they.