As your parents have gotten older, no doubt they’ve tried to stay as independent as possible. Most seniors want to remain self-sufficient, preferring to age in place and take care of themselves for as long as possible. But with age and isolation, it can be difficult for your parents to live without help. Even little things like not having the energy to cook nutritious meals can lead to more severe health problems in the long run, not to mention a lower quality of life. At these moments, hiring a caregiver can be a huge help.
However, asking for help is tough, no matter what your circumstances are. For seniors, it can be even harder. Aside from the desire not to impose, there’s the embarrassment many seniors feel about not being able to do all the things they could when they were younger. This can cause seniors to try to hide the fact that they’re struggling. But as an adult child, you’re poised to notice the signs that your parents can no longer do everything for themselves.
Signs Your Older Relative Might Need Help
The two main reasons your older parent might benefit from hiring a caregiver are if they’re struggling physically or mentally. Here’s what to look for and when to start thinking about getting help.
Is Your Parent Struggling Physically?
These can be the most obvious warning signs to see from the outside. Keep an eye on your parent’s physical appearance when you see them. Have they been brushing their teeth and hair? Do they seem to be bathing regularly? If you check inside their fridge, is there more than just a jar of pickles and a bottle of ketchup? You want to be aware of whether your relatives can groom themselves, take care of their teeth, and eat healthy meals. If you know your loved one has a physical condition like arthritis, keep tabs on how it’s affecting them. Don’t be afraid to ask how they’re coping and whether there are any other ways their life could be easier. Starting the discussion with a problem you’re already aware of can be an excellent way to get your parents to open up.
Is Your Parent Struggling Mentally?
While physical problems are often the most apparent, they’re no more or less critical than a senior’s mental health. Depression and anxiety are common ailments amongst isolated seniors, and issues such as dementia or even just regular age-related forgetfulness can lead to severe problems. Does your parent seem listless, disinterested in their old hobbies, or overly fixated on the negatives? Have they recently experienced a loss or other troubling life event? Have you noticed them forgetting things like meals and medication, or losing track of where they are or what they were doing? When you visit their home, do you notice a lot of clutter or trash (which can also be a health or tripping hazard)?
Seniors are often even less likely to talk about mental health issues than physical ones. If you think your parent might be struggling, it can pay to know how to sit down and talk to them about their mental wellbeing.
How to Talk to Your Parent About Hiring a Caregiver
Of course, realizing there’s a problem is only the first step. You know your parent needs help, but probably aren’t in a position to give it yourself. Taking care of an aging relative requires long hours comparable to a second full-time job, not to mention the emotional struggle of going from a child to caregiver. Hiring a caregiver is often the best option for adult children worried about their aging parents.
Broaching this subject with your older relative can be complicated. Most seniors are likely to be hesitant about getting in-home help, and some might resist the idea outright. You may need to return to this discussion multiple times over an extended period, and practice patience every time. Here are a few quick tips to guide you through the process of talking to your parent about an in-home caregiver:
- Come with the facts. When you know what an in-home caregiver can provide, you can more easily convince your parent that those services will improve their life.
- Focus on the positives. Though some seniors might feel embarrassed about needing an in-home caregiver at first, a caregiver can make a substantial positive impact. By stressing that a caregiver will make their life easier and give them more time to do what they want to do, you can help your parent understand how this can be a good thing.
- Be ready to listen. Your parent might have some concerns about bringing a caregiver into their home. It’s important to hear what they have to say and assuage those fears when you can.
- Consider what’s best for everyone. Whether it’s easing concerns about your relative’s health or making things easier on a cohabiting spouse, it can sometimes make the decision clearer when your relative considers the impact their health has on the people around them.
These are tough conversations and will require understanding from everyone involved. But at the end of the day, an in-home caregiver can make a huge difference in your parent’s life. Once your parent understands that a caregiver can give them more freedom rather than taking it away, the decision can become all the clearer.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.