When Mom or Dad Needs a Care Provider: Advice for This Challenging Conversation

As the caregiver for your elderly parents, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Along with ensuring your parents have the proper level of care, you have your own obligations to manage. While your parents’ needs grow, you may realize that it’s time to get some support. Although you may be on board with hiring a care provider, mom and dad may have different opinions. That’s why we want to help you have this important conversation.

Here, we explore several reasons your parents might need home care assistance and share five tips to prepare for this conversation.

5 Reasons Your Parents Need a Care Provider

Here are essential reasons your elderly parents may need a care provider:

  1. Their needs are increasing. What started out as helping mom and dad occasionally may have turned into a part-time job. As they need more assistance with their daily activities, it may be time to get some additional support.
  2. They need to get active. Care providers can help your loved one get more exercise, especially if they have mobility issues. A trained professional is aware of activities that meet their level of ability.
  3. They can no longer prepare nutritious meals. If you notice mom and dad are eating a bland diet or even missing meals, it may be time to hire some help. A care provider can cook and serve meals that meet your parents’ dietary needs, which is especially important as they age.
  4. Their home is becoming untidy. As older people experience mobility and balance issues, keeping their home clean can become a challenge. A home care provider can help with light housekeeping duties, like washing dishes, vacuuming common spaces, and clearing floors of clutter.
  5. Their personal well-being is declining. Mom and dad may find it more challenging to keep up with their favorite hobbies and social obligations as they get older. A care provider can assist them in such activities, helping them maintain a higher standard of living.

5 Tips for Talking to Your Parents About Getting Help

When it’s time to discuss your parents’ care needs, consider these helpful tips:

1. Plan For the Conversation

Before you discuss home-based care with your parents, make sure your appropriate family members and decision-makers are aware of this decision. Consider meeting with them to go over your ideal care plan for your parents. Determine who needs to be a part of the conversation with your parents, as you don’t want too many people involved or it can become overwhelming for them. Plan what key talking points you all want to cover during your conversation.

2. Choose an Appropriate Time

Rather than bringing this topic up out of the blue, let your parents know you want to have an important discussion with them. Choose a private talking space, such as one of your homes, rather than discussing this over dinner at a restaurant. It’s best to choose a time when your parents are relaxed, as they may be more open to your ideas.

3. Make Your Case

Ask your parents if you can have their undivided attention so that you can share all your thoughts about their personal care plan. Share reasons you think they may need the help of a care provider in addition to yourself. Explain that their needs are increasing, and you want to ensure they are getting the appropriate level of support. You may also mention that your personal well-being is impacted by being a caregiver, though make sure to be careful about the way you phrase this. Do this from a place of love, being polite and empathetic as you share your own point of view.

Below are a few examples of what you might say:

“Mom, you know I am always here for you, no matter what. However, I have noticed that you are losing weight, and I am concerned about your nutrition. How would you feel about me hiring someone to cook you dinner and clean up afterward a few nights each week? I would help them understand your dietary needs, and I would even join you for a few meals as you get to know them.”

“As you both know, it’s been more of a challenge for me to balance my time with you in addition to caring for the kids. I’ve been thinking about it lately, and after I did some research, I’m finding that a care provider may be the support we need for you both. Essentially, this is a person who has experience and training in personal care. They can assist you with activities like gardening in the backyard or preparing a nutritious meal. Let me know your thoughts on this, as I want to find something you are both comfortable with.

“Hey dad, I know this isn’t an easy topic for you, but I’ve been thinking a lot about your recent fall. As you know, I want to be here with you all the time, but my schedule makes that difficult. I was thinking, how would you feel about getting some extra help around the house? I know assisted living isn’t an option for you right now, so I have been looking into care providers who can give you some extra support here when I’m not available.”

4. Listen to Their Concerns

After sharing your thoughts, ask your parents what they think about hiring a care provider. Remember, their initial thoughts might be intense, especially if they haven’t considered this option before. Having a new person come into their home to help them with daily activities may seem like a drastic decision to them at first. Remind them this can be a gradual decision, and that you want to consider their thoughts and feelings. Ask them what they would want help with as you work together to create a plan.

Another way to help with their concerns is by doing research on home care agencies, such as CareProvide, so that you can answer any of their questions. Try to get a general idea of the costs associated with the level of care you need and how many hours you want a care provider to work with your parents each week.

5. Break This Conversation Up

Let your parents know they don’t need to decide this right away, and that you are open to discussing this again. Planning for elderly parents takes time and patience, so remember to stay calm during this process. Give them time to think about what you have to say, letting them know you’re here for them as they make their decision. Trying to be empathetic, imagining how they feel, can help you have a more productive conversation with them.

In-home care for parents is an adaptable service, meaning you can request additional services as your parents’ needs change. You may decide to ease your parents into personal care services and then have another conversation about adding additional support as their needs increase over time.

Looking for a care provider for a family member in the Annapolis area? CareProvide has an excellent network of experienced staff waiting to assist. Get connected here.