Your Parents Need Help But Don’t Think They Do
Jane came to visit her Mom, Amy, in Chesterbrook and was sad to see that her Mom, who had always made the most amazing meals, was eating far too many cold sandwiches for lunch and dinner. She seemed to be having a hard time getting to the grocery store and preparing meals. Jane just knew it was time to get some help for her Mom.
But her Mom did not see it that way. Amy was not keen on the idea of someone helping her. Amy had always been the helper in life, from raising kids to volunteering at church. And she was also not thrilled with Jane telling her what she needed. After all, Amy thought, “I’m the parent, not the child.”
“Amy’s response to her daughter suggesting that she need home care is very common. Almost expected,” says Donna Marshall, MSW, LCSW, Intake Coordinator at Surrey Services for Seniors. “We want to remain independent as we get older, and we might need help understanding that in fact getting home care can actually keep you more independent. Getting some care often enables you to stay living in your own home.”
Marie Keely, MSW, LSW, Home Services Care Manager at Surrey agrees. “It takes most of us some time to warm to the idea of having help in our homes.” Marie suggests that adult children should work up to the idea by having more than one conversation with parents so they have time to contemplate having help in the home. “I suggest that adult children share with parents that having a social companion can keep them more independent. The social companion can help them attend social events, get to appointments, prepare meals and keep the house neater. That supports independent living.”
Start a conversation with your concern for your parent and then spell out exactly what you are concerned about. “Talk about concerns and then work together to brain storm solutions,” says Wendy Walsh, RN, CMC, Aging Life Care Manager at Surrey . “It may take some time for the idea to appeal to your parent,” says Donna. “You can say, yes you are still capable of doing these tasks but why not get help and free yourself for things more enjoyable than laundry and cooking every single meal.”
It is not easy for parents to adjust to the role shift as their children now serve as caregivers for them. “When you get a professional to come do an assessment of your parent’s needs that helps the conversation,” says Wendy. “You may find that your parents may not need as much care as you think or may need more. They may also need a different type of care. A professional assessment can help sort this out for your family.”
Donna visited with Jane and Amy and offered a professional assessment. Her recommendation was for a social companion a few hours a week. Once Amy realized that having a social companion would increase her independence and help her cook meals, Amy was thrilled. Donna matched Amy with a social companion who shared her love of cooking. They spend time at the library reading cooking magazines and checking out cookbooks too.
If your parents need a home cleaner, social companion, personal caregiver or care manager call Surrey Home Care at 610-647-9840 for an in home assessment.