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How do I help my father accept help?

My father lives alone and is losing mobility quickly. He wants to remain in his home and living independently. Unfortunately, he is very resistant to assistance from anyone. He doesn't want a housekeeper or someone to assist with errands. I work more than full-time as do my siblings and we don't have the flexibility to get out to his home more than once a week. We also don't want to spend the time we have with him cleaning. Suggestions?

Answers
Ian in Mobile, AL
Nov. 27, 2017

If your Father is anything like my Grandfather, I may be your man. Losing mobility, especially when they have maintained a certain level of independence, is hard to confront. I know from personal experience that, actually "excepting" help may just not be in the cards. My advice, no uniforms (scrubs etc.) -no "formal meeting" (this is not an intervention) -treat them with the utmost respect. Depending on how hands-on the care needs to be, I would suggest a simple "This is __ we hired them to cut the grass, help with dishes etc." Followed by a firm handshake and respectful greeting..For some it is a reality that is never truly accepted, but by gaining trust through good conversation and respect; it is not impossible. Like I stated earlier, this subject is personal. Sometimes it is easier to go the non-traditional route.

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Vicki in Neenah, WI
Nov. 19, 2017

Start with a meet and greet and see if dad likes this person and then ask him later if he would mind letting this person come in sometimes just to be with him when family can't. start slow and give him time to process the idea of allowing help for himself. Many elderly people do not think they need to get help, it takes away their need for independence. Good luck.

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I was my fathers Caregiver and he had dementia and it got worse after my mother passed 4 years prior but he was a very stubborn and never wanted a stranger he called in his house but he kept forgetting to turn off the gas stove and left the faucet running in the kitchen and bathroom and once started a fire while cooking even though I would come part time since I had a full time job he needed constant care and unfortunately he fell down so many times he hurt his back and fractured his pelvis and I had to put him in a convalescent care facility which was his downfall and he quit eating and drinking liquids and didn't last long. I wish I could go back and I would have quit my job and stay with him 24/7 or find someone because they are basically like children and need constant care and compassion and companionship. I couldn't afford to stop working as a widow and single mom with no help from siblings but I regret it everyday and it still hurts to talk about it so Please don't wait until it's too late even though he may not like it I'm sure there's someone out there who's compassionate and patient and caring and just keep looking for that right person for him

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Doris in Cool, CA
Nov. 18, 2017

Hello, I understand your dilemma and it is not an uncommon one. Some older adults want to feel like they still have a purpose. Perhaps present the help slowly as a solution to someone else's problem. For instance, tell him Mary is looking for something to do and he could help her by letting her stop by to see if she could lend him a hand with something. You seem like a very loving and bright person. I am sure you will find a solution. Doris

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It would be smart to find possible candidates that match your father's personality, and start introducing to him slowly; each one of us can be very demanding and like the things our own way, the caregiver should gain the trust of your father first, and the caregiver should ask to your father, how he'd like the things to be done. your father may think that he is losing control of his own house when he lets someone else clean it. it the same way how we feel when we let some stranger drive our car. again try to make some connection, friendship/trust between your father and caregiver first.

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I would start slowly. maybe someone to come in for companionship and slowly work to helping him more when he is more comfortable with caregiver.

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Just having someone there is a peace of mind in case of falls. Explain to him that they will not take over his routine, but to do those things together such as the shopping and cleaning. Just remind him that if he wants to remain home and be independent, he really should consider having someone to be there for him in case he needs help.

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Paul in Rockford, IL
Jan. 15, 2019

I have done this for over 8 years. My favorite method is to slowly work into the client's life. I begin by stopping by to visit a little before dinner time and socializing. The next day, prepare a snack in the kitchen, and progressively work into making a full dinner and eating with the client. At this point, you can do a family intervention telling him he needs help or he moves to a facility. You will find HE WILL BE THE ONE OFFERING to have you stay in the home. for this and other tips see www.alzheimershomehealth.com/education.html for a wealth of ideas.

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Just tell him that he is going to be keeping them company. Also gradually start with an hour or two a day. The caregiver can start with just playing cards or doing other things your father enjoys doing. Once he trusts them, he will let them help. The elderly do not embrace change so gradual is always for the best.

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Carey in Baraboo, WI
Dec. 22, 2018

I can help. I am available for Social Work consulting in re: coordination of medical care, home safely assessments, DME procural, arrangement of facility based respite, crisis respite and hospice referrals. I am also a Certified Dementia Specialst and WI Licensed Social Worker. I have worked with the NFCSP. Please contact me via care.com

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User in Loveland, CO
Dec. 21, 2018

Of course he doesn't. He would much rather have you who is familiar. If he wants independence he needs to be convinced that he needs help from someone in his home now, or in a facility later. This action also helps preserve your relationship with your Dad. You cannot be an option to assist him all the time, unless that is what you want.

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Anna in Camino, CA
Nov. 25, 2018

Losing independence can be incredibly difficult and confusing. The best way is to turn it around, turn his attention to something else. Would he be more comfortable doing an activity with someone before they clean his house? Could the caregiver watch a movie or make him a meal to distract him while they get busy? Does he have any hobbies he could be doing while someone assists him. If all else fails, an ultimatum may be the only way. Most people would rather allow you to help than be moved to a facility. You don't have to be serious, the threat of leaving his home may make him more open to assistance. Just break it gently if possible. Best of luck!

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I don't know.

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Lynn in Mesa, AZ
Nov. 16, 2018

Next time you go to his house to clean bring someone along and maybe he could develop a relationship with that person and want them to come back

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Hi, If you have to hire an agency or private care, I suggest you go with the person to your fathers home, introduce them to him and show him that they can do it for him so that he doesn't have too. Allow your father to trust the person first before leaving him alone with them. Make sure it is a good fit for mainly your father.

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Robyn in McLean, VA
Nov. 10, 2018

Their are Companion Caregivers, Friendly visitors ( both individuals and agencies) that are experts in helping and they are experts in helping have those discussions. Perhaps you can give him a gift of a cleaning crew or individual and if they are truly experienced with a vibrant personality and a focus on serving seniors, they will be able to gain his trust and then work with him further. You could also hire someone as a "Professional organizer" to help him downsize ( clean a closet, clean a desk that is unorganized, clean kitchen shelves organize his closet etc etc), perhaps sell some of those items for him on eBay and he will see the financial reward and then feel more organized and clean and then that too might develop into. a friendship and awe can rely further on them. It just takes time but once you get someone in to help him with something...then the trust and friendship will foster over time!

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sometimes it takes that one fall or that one sh*t I can get that or one forgotten memory... I know it may be hard to realize it, I personally think it may be apart of the factor of not wanting to feel weak, to feel the incapability to do his normal routine...

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User in Tampa, FL
Oct. 11, 2018

If he's losing mobility he shouldn't be alone. He need to be in a ALF or a private home facility.

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Patricia in Ogden, UT
Sept. 23, 2018

Ask him if he would enjoy having a friend/companion to visit with play a few games, run errands with. Try and get creative.

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He sounds determined to do it himself. Maybe you can find a person he'd like to clean his house, take him to appointments, engage him in activities. Let him know you want this for him. He needs companionship.

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This is a tough one. I believe that you should honor your father's wishes if he desires to remain independent. If he is resistant to accepting hired help in his home then respect his choice. If he is open to receiving help from you and your siblings create a schedule and rotate shifts so that someone checks on him once a week at minimum. You could also purchase a life alert for him or cell phone if he doesn't have one, so that he is able to contact help if he needs it.

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Beth in Peyton, CO
Aug. 17, 2018

In this situation, nothing much can be done until he is ready to accept help, which might be a time when mobility has declined and much help is needed.

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Laure in Edmonds, WA
July 30, 2018

Hmmmmm what if I just went there to bring him lunch and chat and make connection and work on showing him he could be my friend and count on me for what he wants? just chat about his favorite TV shows, sit and have a beverage, just chat - connect first and see if he feels ok with me?

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Susan in Oxford, NC
July 28, 2018

Hire a person of his choice to assist him so he can remain at home. Make him part of the process.

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Mature compassionate care giver truly enjoys being there.

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Laura in Garner, NC
Feb. 11, 2018

Your Dad is older and has needs now that he didn't have when you and your family could come for a visit and just relax and talk. Even if visits won't be the same as they used to, I know he would really appreciate your visit even if it is to give him a helping hand. Then let him know that you and your sibling are getting older too, and after working all day and caring for your family that you might be stretching yourself too thin to give him the attention he needs and deserves. Try to bring someone into his house just to clean once or twice (no strings attached), and you and your siblings be there. Maybe someone 10 years or so younger than him would be a good match. See how he interacts. He may find that he likes the companionship while they're cleaning. Just take it nice and slow and see if he will like it.

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i had a few men like that,just need to find the right person with he right personality and not be a pushover when he says no,,get someone persistant but not anoying and talks to him as if hes still king of his castle..prides a big thing with the men,that generation worked harder than anyone..respect givin

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Hi, fellow care.com member. I have encountered this situation many times during my career in nursing and personally with my own father. I agree with the previous post suggesting that caregivers avoid wearing scrubs. Believe it or not, sometimes this makes patients feel like they are being treated like someone who has a serious illness or in other words, they don't like being fussed over. I avoided using the term "help" you, although not intentional, those words imply control, meaning you are calling the shots and decide when and what he needs help with. We, daughters, have very good intentions and want the best for our dad's, however, no matter how sincere we are in expressing our concerns, he most often doesn't see it the same way. First things first, don't take this personal, it has more to do with them hanging on to every ounce of independence, no matter how small. Second, whether or not he ever openly acknowledges it to you, he is fully aware of his mobility limitations. Let's face it, no one, not a single one of us will be happy about this when the time comes. Some people adjust and cope well, some resist and never accept it (my dad was one of those). I find using the approach that your children care about you so much and feel bad, or like they let you down because they want to spend more time with you but because they work and have to take care of the kids etc., it would really make them feel better to know that you have someone to spend time with you. When meeting families for the first time, I include the loved one in the conversation, even if they are just present in the room while family members and myself converse. I point blank tell the client that I would like to get to know them and that I have no intention of telling them what to do and ask them how they feel about that. It is crucial that even if he is resistant, that he be included in the interview process. During the initial meet and greet, I recommend not discussing all his limitations in front of him, in fact, avoid talking "about him", instead talk about things he likes to do, pretty much like a normal conversation when you are getting to know someone. I find including the client in activities, for example, one of my client's is visually impaired and unable to operate the washer and dryer, however, she helps me fold her laundry and makes sure I put things in their proper place. When it comes to say cleaning the kitchen, I usually spend time catching up with my client when I arrive. Take time to sit down and chat, have a cup of coffee, then make the statement something like, "oh my I have kept you too long, why don't I go tidy up in the kitchen,and cook us a bite to eat, and if you'd like, we can play cards when I get done?" You get the idea, it's important that they don't feel like someone rushes in to punch the time clock, hurry to get the work done and clock out. Yes, every client is different and it may take some a long time to warm up to it. I did have one client that was very prideful and felt like it was a burden for me to pick up groceries. I tried everything but was unsuccessful. However, as fate has it, it was a little help from mother nature that finally smoothed things out. It was a rainy, gloomy, day and the weather was expected to worsen, so I mentioned to the client that it would really help me out to go on to the grocery store and pick up groceries for me and my daughter, and asked if he minded. He didn't of course, so I then offered to pick up his in return. From then on, I always shopped for the both of us and he was quite happy with that. One more thing, in the future, if he experiences incontinence and needs to wear Depend underwear, never in a million years use the word diaper, nor allow the caregiver you hire to. Nothing is more demeaning than being told you need to wear a diaper. I suggest calling them padded briefs or lined brief. I have found that this issue is one of the hardest for men to accept. Good luck and best wishes!

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Just reassure him that the hell that you guys are trying to get for him is just mnsking sure he is getting everything done let him know that he will be in control no one else

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Annie in Hopewell, VA
Nov. 29, 2017

JUST SAY DAD SOME FRIENDS ARE COMING BY TO SEE YOU AND JUST HAVE THEM STAY OVER TO TAKE CARE OF HIM

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explain to him that if he doesnt allow someone to come into his home and assist things he needs and wants done that they will end up placing him in assisted living especially if he gets hurt in his home and then he wont have any choice anymore but right now he does have a choice, he gets to choose who he allows in his home to assist him as needed and if he doesnt like an aide for any reason he has the choice to dnr them or (do not return)...loseing independence or mobility quickly like you say he is can be scary not to mention a stranger coming to his home and basicly violating his home is hard too if i imagine myself there also my mom struggles with the same prob however im her aide so she has it kinda easy and she always refuses them trying to send her a different aide than me lol

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I would suggest you to take him on an outing once a week for an hour or two (if it is not too much trouble with your schedules) and have someone come to the home and do a nice deep clean while he is gone. Then he may not even realize it is someone outside of the family helping out.

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I will be happy to help you. Sincerely Laima.

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You may explain to him that you are concerned about his health and the fact he is alone, and it would make YOU feel better to know he has some help, even if he feels it is not needed. Try telling him that if he had help, you could spend the time you have with him doing something he enjoys, not wasting his time doing housekeeping.Sometimes they will do what is asked, if it makes their family feel better. Just a suggestion. Have seem it work before trying it that way.

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If this was my family member, I would try to explain to him that your just to tired after work to clean up his place and do laundry, prepare meals ETC.. And tell him your friend will be coming by when your not able to in case there's some things to be done. Maybe after you both meet the right person who he trust and is comfortable with, he'll accept the help. I know it's hard I had a patient with dementia and she was set in her ways as well but, she came around and was looking for me every day. I hope things work out for you both.Bonnie.V

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I would keep close watch to ensure he does not have a fall and sometimes we have to re-approach him if at first he refuses help.

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User in Culpeper, VA
Nov. 13, 2017

Invite me to come over as a friend of the family. I will slowly show you how to get him to accept my help.

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Do you Have a Power of Attorney

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it could be very trying for the families of the seniors that are just not having someone else come into their home to take care of things. I had a client just like that. We started by me coming in 30 minutes here and there when the family was around. She eventually warmed up to me. 4 years later that woman was the love of my life. I suggest finding someone that could come in here and there that your family likes. We as care givers who do this for more than money would always be willing to do what it takes. Also maybe while the children have their parents out you could hire the care giver to do the laundry, light cleaning and meal prep while you are out visiting? your parent may be better to accept also if your in the home a few times while your caregiver is also.

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Try church members, friends who know of your situation and maybe they can start by doing brief visits with him to hopefully break the ice with him. Older folks most times just want to be left alone. You may want to talk to someone that he is familiar with to keep an eye on him when you can't.

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User in Salem, MA
Feb. 15, 2019

Unfortunately, you just have to do what needs to be done. If you don't, he will get hurt. The decision is not his. Losing mobility fast means he will continue to get worse. What he does or does not allow is out of his hands. Hire a housekeeper. Hire someone to do errands. If your entire family has to work full time, he has no choice. Your father doesn't want anyone but all the siblings to help him. You clearly cannot and all of you must take the initiative into your own hands. Do not wait until he becomes seriously hurt. Bedridden (or worse) will mean you all have to live with "we should have."

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David in Chenoa, IL
Feb. 8, 2019

It is very difficult for an elderly gentleman to admit that he needs assistance. Most of the time a man will see themselves in the mirror as they have always been, the strength of the home. The best way to go about it is to allow a caregiver to assist them and to participate in things that he Likes to do.

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Parents are very crouch when their declining years are approaching. Bite the elephant, be very firm yet loving and tell him just how much you love him. Tell him that he deserves to have his home professionally cleaned and that you really want him to feel secure. Let him know that you are taking the necessary steps to insure his safety happiness and peace of mind.

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