Often, our parents are uncomfortable with the idea of moving into a retirement community. And that’s fine—retirement living is not for everyone. An alternative option, however, is hiring a professional caregiver to come into their home to provide similar services. This is often the best option, as it represents a compromise: we don’t have to worry about their needs being attended to, and they don’t have to worry about leaving the home they love.
But there are a few things to consider when approaching this talk with our parents. If we want to have the best outcome possible, we must realize that our parents likely are sensitive to all the changes they’re experiencing. Coupled with a loss of independence, these conversations can use some guidance. Here are five tips for handling these conversations while having everyone come out on top.
1.) Stay positive and discuss their goal of remaining in their home. Confirm that this is their first choice over moving to a retirement community.
2.) Focus on Independence. By allowing assistance to be brought into the home, they will be able to maintain their independence. They will no longer be burdened by home maintenance, housekeeping, laundry or other areas where they could use help. This will free up their time and energy to continue enjoying the activities they love most.
3.) Focus on Family Benefit. Explain how it will keep their children, grandchildren and other family members from worrying that they don’t have everything they need. Their relationship with family can remain positive and they can avoid feelings of disagreement or even resentment.
4.) Try it on Trial. Discuss the idea of trying it for a set time period. They can be involved in the hiring process and then evaluate how it is working. An ideal time is when there is an impending surgery or anticipated change. A caregiver could be introduced to alleviate additional stress to everyone.
5.) Get Their Input & Buy-in. Try to end with some type of agreement as to what types of things could be helpful to them. Then discuss a timeframe for making the decision on a caregiver and how long they will try the service in order to evaluate further. Since they wish to remain in control of their lives, the more they are part of the decision the better.
While these are tips to help get the conversation started, we understand that each family dynamic is different. Always remember that you are not alone—professionals are available to help. We’re here if you need us!