Your elderly mother has always been a proud and independent woman, but ever since dad passed-away something’s changed. Mom looks frail, her home is cluttered and messy, and she’s not taking her medications as prescribed. You think that mom could benefit from some professional home care, but she changes the subject whenever you bring it up. What should you do? Convincing a senior parent who’s resistant to home care is never easy. Here are some creative ways to overcome their objections.

Why Some Seniors Resist Home Care

For reasons like pride and stubbornness, many older adults are not receptive to the idea of a “stranger” assisting them around the home. The average senior is used to managing their own household and affairs, and privacy is also important to them.

However, to remain living at home most independent seniors eventually require at least some assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs). If there’s not a trusted friend or relative nearby to look after them finding a professional caregiver is another option.

Convincing an Aging Parent to Say “Yes”

It may take some time for your parent to warm up to the idea of home care, so be persistent-yet-respectful as you slowly work on changing their mind. You’ll typically have more success when using this approach:

Start the conversation early

If your father died recently, respectfully talk to mom about any challenges she may be having around the home- like paying bills, getting to the store or completing household chores. During this preliminary discussion also ask mom where she sees herself in a few years when she’s “older”.

While in the home be watchful for any signs that she needs help, like unopened bills, dirty dishes or an empty fridge. Offer to pitch in, but don’t take it personally if mom says “no” at first.

Involve your siblings

If you’ve noticed that mom or dad is having trouble keeping up their home or personal appearance, discuss the situation with your siblings. As a group, schedule a casual, non-threatening meeting with you parent.

During the meeting tell your parent how much they mean to you, share your concerns and then ask how all of you can lighten their load. Putting on a unified front usually works better than going it alone.

Slow-and-steady wins the race

Start out gradually by volunteering to drive mom or dad to their medical appointments or store. Offer to prepare them a meal or clean their house. Let them know that you want to help because you love them and appreciate all the nurturing that they gave you while growing up. Using this slow-and-steady approach may just ease your parent into the idea of accepting some professional in-home care.

Recruit trusted outsiders

At this point your parent may still not be listening to you because you’ll always be their child. However, they may accept advice from a trusted outsider like a doctor, church leader or friend. If there’s an elderly neighbor who benefits from home care, ask them to speak to your parent about their experiences.

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