By Jennifer Gibbons, LCSW, Adult & Senior Care Advisor
At Care.com we pride ourselves on our test and learn culture. Sometimes we try new things and if they work- great. But if they don’t- let’s not waste time. Instead we inform our new approach with what we learned from the first try that didn’t quite succeed. With elders, I often advocate a similar test and learn approach. When you first discuss having a paid caregiver in the home with your mother, she may not be receptive. So instead, present it to her from another angle.
I worked with a family whose grandmother was incredibly resistant to help from outside her family. Her family members were in the sandwich generation- they had young children and aging parents at the same time. Trying to balance soccer games and ballet classes with trips to the podiatrist and geriatrician was often difficult. With Grandma unwilling to accept any outside help, the family was overburdened and stressed.
So how do you approach Grandma in this situation? The family knew Grandma and could decide which approach she might respond to best. Some of the strategies were:
- “Why don’t we find someone who also likes to play cards like you do?”
- “Did you know that a caregiver can also help around the home with the things you don’t like to do? The caregiver can do laundry, light housekeeping, and dishes (or insert your grandma’s least-favorite chore here).”
- “Did you know that Care.com carefully vets home care agencies that provide reliable and trained caregivers?”
- “Did you say you wanted to go to the movies? Your companion caregiver could take you while I’m away.”
It may take multiple attempts before your mother will agree to accept help. Remember that unless Mom is deemed legally incompetent, she can make her own decisions—even bad ones. So another option is to address the root of her concerns. If you have an understanding of why your mom is resistant to accepting help, it can inform your strategy and approach. Some of the primary obstacles to accepting help include:
- Fear of losing control. Try letting Mom know that a caregiver will help her stay involved and active in those activities that are important to her.
- Concern about having a ‘stranger’ in the home. Try discussing the safety precautions that Care.com takes with each agency and its caregivers and how you will remain involved in her care.
- Limited financial resources. If you have a back-up care benefit through your employer, discuss the discounted rate with your father and encourage him to try it. Otherwise, consider working with siblings and other family members to come up with a payment plan.
- Carefully match caregivers. Discuss the option of finding a caregiver who shares some of the same interests as your grandmother or even using an agency specializing in pairing elders with older companions that may best relate to seniors.
If you don’t succeed in convincing your parents to accept help at first, don’t give up. Expect that a series of conversations may need to take place before Mom or Dad considers outside help. Call a Care Advisor at Care.com and we will help you approach your unique caregiving situation with ideas, strategies, and resources.
Try new approaches with the seniors in your life!
Call Care.com for personalized guidance and assistance.
Care.com’s Adult and Senior Care Advisers are experienced, masters-level social workers.
Call us today at (855) 781-1303 and we’ll be happy to help with your senior care challenges.