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How do I help a Parent who doesn't want help?

I have a 93 year old father, who is rapidly declining in his health. I have a 72 year old mother who makes me feel as though she wants me to put my life on hold to take care of them, even though I have a family of my own I'm trying to care for. When I try to get her outside help, she refuses to allow them in her home. She has fallen several times while at home alone with him, and her health is gradually declining due to caring for him non-stop. She tells me not to worry about them, but how can I not. I don't know what to do. Does anyone have solutions to my problem?

Answers

There are no easy answers to your situation. It must be very difficult for you to see your father declining and your mother refusing to accept outside help. As a person who has personally dealt with this kind of issue, let me say that you must, first, second and third, take care of yourself and your family, otherwise, if you don't, then you will experience health and mental issues that will compromise your family until. You must remember, even though it hurts, that your father and mother are adults and have rights even though you know that their decisions are harming themselves. Check in your local area, DSHS in Washington, to see what kinds of services might be available for respite care or in-home health care. But, as you are finding out, if they do not want help, you can not force them to get that help unless they can be deemed incompetent, which is a legal issue. If you have other brothers and sisters, try to get them involved. If you can join a support group for yourself, do that. The reality is not one that any of us would choose, but nonetheless, it is what it is and you have to learn how to accept it for yourself and live your life. Again, I am sorry to hear that this is happening to you and I sympathize with you and your pain. Please take care of you. God bless.

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User in Lockport, IL
Oct. 14, 2018

People of all ages, but especially in this age group are worried about being able to afford the care, worry about having someone come into their home and 'take over'. Also, it is a matter of pride. Or perhaps feeling that if they accept help, it will mean that their very lives are coming to an end...not something most of us want to think about. As you have stated that mom's health is declining, you may start there. Take her to the doctor for a physical. If possible, talk with her doctor beforehand and alert him/her to the problems that you are seeing. Ask the doctor for his/her honest evaluation. Sometimes, we kids see things worse than they are and need an impartial outside person to see what we can't. On the other hand, if the doc thinks that outside help may be appropriate and knows what you think and the limits that you have to help, he/she may propose getting outside help to your mom. If the doc really sees a deficit and thinks that there may be possible signs of self-neglect, he/she can prescribe a Geriatric Case Manage to come to your parents' house to do an evaluation. This is often not covered by insurance so be prepared for the cost. That being said, this type of case manager has specialized in just this type of situation and can often get the to agree to help when we kids cannot. If the doc sees nothing wrong, or mom won't allow the case manager to come, you could try hiring someone from this site with experience to come and clean or shop for mom, with the idea that they will be checked on from time to time. Now, you may have to be a bit tricky with this by say, screening and hiring, then presenting say a month of services to your mom. Tell her in the most loving way that you want to give her a break, or remind her how she asks for your help but that you can't or even use the time that the caretaker/housekeeper is at the house to take your mom out shopping or to lunch. This may be a way for you to KNOW that your parents are ok, that the house is being kept up, that your mom isn't going to completely wear out and may relieve you of some guilt/pressure to help, that it sounds like you are feeling. I say a month, in the hopes that you will find just the right caregiver that knows how to offer help in a way that is not threatening to your mom, and that she may eventually find trust enough in to allow the caretaker to provide more help as she/they need it. You may consider using a volunteer call-in service that regularly does well-being checks on your parents. These can be found through your local Dept of Aging or by calling the Senior Help Line. Though I am not sure that they could do anything that you couldn't by picking up the phone. If you really think that they are in trouble or are heading for trouble, you could make a call to Adult Protective Services. This is done anonymously so your mom wouldn't know you called unless you told her, though she may be able to figure it out. What they do is to assist adults over 60 in self-neglect situations by sending a caseworker to investigate with follow-up oversight. I have to say this may be the last resort as if they find that mom can't take care of dad, they could send dad to the hospital for eval if bad enough. They could even recommend nursing home care and take guardianship of him/her if bad enough. This is often when people finally decide that a caretaker in their home is better than going to a nursing home. As I said this is only the last resort.

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Obviously every family is different. But I have encouraged my pts to consider the fact that everything changes. And keeping that in mind, they could find themselves in a situation where choices need to be made for their long term care, and they are unable to be part of that decision making process. If they aren't part of the solution, they may find themselves living somewhere they are not happy with. Sometimes they are angry, but the dialog begins. Sometimes they refuse, and unfortunately when there is an incident, like a fall, that results in the need for long term rehab or a hospital stay, other people make the choice for them. Elderly people can fear change and the loss of control over their lives, "If I do nothing, maybe nothing will change". You could try presenting options like this, "Mom, you and dad need more help now. I've been looking into options that would allow you to stay here, in your home, because I know that's what you both want. We can have someone come in and do the cleaning, take you to run errands, and use a meal service so you won't need to cook everyday. I will still continue to do the things I do for you, but you need more than I am able to offer. You and dad can talk about it, and then let me know if you want to be part of interviewing your helpers, or if you would like me to take care of it. I will make sure I'm here for their first visit so we get off on the right foot." You might also ask your mothers MD for an order for in home physical therapy and occupational therapy. Medicare/Medical pays for this. There are several in-home health agencies that will send clinicians in 1-2x a week, and might send a CHHA help her with showers. The idea would be that they would teach her how to do the activities she does now (laundry, cooking, etc.) in a safer way, and help avoid future falls. Good luck.

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bring someone you trust into your home, even if she refuses the care. Have this person there with you at all times, let your mom get to know this person so she can build some trust. thats the only way its going to work. Good luck!!

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David in Chenoa, IL
Feb. 8, 2019

It is sometimes very difficult for senior adults to admit that they need help in caring for themselves or their loved ones. I can understand your mothers dilemma in wanting to take care of her home but in order to care for her husband sometimes assistance is needed. Perhaps giving them options to having someone assist her rather then they both go to nursing homes

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Firstly you can not allow your Mother to manipulate your feelings and secondly you owe it to both of your parents a lifestyle that is conducive to their aging needs. You must report the incidences to the Department of Aging.

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User in Salem, MA
Feb. 1, 2019

You cannot help. You MUST tell your father and mother's doctor. Time for you to remove yourself from a situation that is out of your hands.

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If she has another fall, or he is hospitalized for health issues, and one of them ends up in the hospital or a rehab facility, the doctors will tell them they cannot go back home unless there is 'help' in the home. Then if they refuse, they will need to go into an assisted living. Just explain to her that if they want to remain at home, they got to have outside help and this is your way of helping and not worrying about them, since you have a family to care for.

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Tammi in Bristol, IN
Jan. 26, 2019

I don't know whether you have sibling's but,if you do you should get together and talk about the situation.Make sure you are all on the same page.Have a meeting with your parent's to let them know you want to keep them in the home not in a Nursing Home.Find a private caregiver and let them in on the hiring process{your parent's}.You will just have to convince your Mother that you have her best interest at heart.Good luck and I hope you can work this out.

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Everyone person is different and every situation must be handled differently. If they insist on staying home alone you should try introducing outside help gradually. have a helper visit the home while you are there as if they are a friend of yours. when doing this be there several times until the helper and your family can talk and visit without you being active in their time together. and when you feel confident the family will be open to the helper visiting the home on their own

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I would call for a family meeting to discuss your parents health give them suggestions so they still have control over their situation, but have one family member go over their options for example we need to put these safe grades in place. If they start to argue remain calm suggest that they help with the interviews , but at the end of the day you might just have to make the tough decision of showing them assisted living facilities and explain that if you have a serious fall then this is what could happen, because no one can care for you guys full time. If you allow someone to help you now we will do everything in our power to help you remain in your home.

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Bring in a caregiver and introduce them as a friend of yours to your parents...because she trusts you, it will ease her worries. Start out with a couple hours a day of care. (Even if it is only for companionship) This will allow your parents to get to know the caregiver and then trust them. Then as they build a trusting professional relationship, gradually increase the hours. The elderly do not like change. So, easing them into it would be best.

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Avery in Spokane, WA
Jan. 9, 2019

As a caregiver, I cannot work for someone who refuses help. It's a law in my state, we cannot force care on anyone. As a family member, it is a different situation for you. My recommendations are first to sit down with them and firmly explain that you have a family and responsibilities as well, and cannot be expected to be there all the time. A family doctor may also help persuade them from a medical standpoint. If you are worried about falling, you can install grab bars in the home, especially in hallways and bathrooms. A life alert bracelet or necklace might also be a good idea, in case she falls and cannot get up.

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Carey in Baraboo, WI
Dec. 22, 2018

I am a Licensed Social Worker and Dementia Specialst. I have experience in this area and can help. Please contact me on care.com. Too much to address in a small text box.

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User in Loveland, CO
Dec. 21, 2018

Private home care allows the resistant parent to receive care that is needed, unburdens the working family member from exhaustion and guilt, achieve more independence while everyone can remain safely cared for. Sometimes, it takes the right person to be introduced into the situation for change to happen.

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Maybe get someone in just a day or two a week, tell them it's for light housekeeping. More so companionship. A lot of the families I take care of ended up having to do the same. My heart is with you during this time of decision making. It's never easy.

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Hi, I have seen this lots of times. I even have a lady of who i help that would not allow anyone to help her, or want anyone in her home because she thought she could do it alone. Let me tell you, her daughter hired me privately and took me to her mothers home and introduced me and i have been with her ever since. Sometimes you have to just take charge and do what is best for them, although they may not like it, but it is for the better you have too. Take a trusted caregiver there and introduce the person to your mom and show your mom that the caregiver can take care of your dad just as if she would. Hope this helps.

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Try framing the care as, Mom, we are providing a grocery-shopping, chef, someone to do errands, chauffer, maid service for you.

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most seniors is really difficult getting to meet new faces but you can start by inviting the caregiver and be around the house with her and the caregiver and after like 2 hours you can say mom i need to step out she will be here incase you need help

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I would try sitting down and talking to them and tell them how you feel... maybe put them into an approved nursing home... they can still do as they please but with 24 hour supervision...

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User in Tampa, FL
Oct. 11, 2018

They are not in the right state of mind they so independent that they dont realize when they need help home health can assist using reverse psychology until they get used to home health then they'll start asking for help without realizing it.

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hire a nurse who understands the situation, communication to acceptance of life will help

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You might try asking your mom to try 'outside help' for just one- or two weeks, and see if the 'right match' assistant shows up and is able to change her mind.

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Patricia in Ogden, UT
Sept. 23, 2018

Keep trying, ask close friends and possible other family members to help by intervening to come up with a safe satisfactory solution.

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Do you have any siblings to help in this matter? She obviously can't take care of herself, much less your dad. Maybe someone from your house of worship can tell her she can't do it alone. Does your city offer respite care? You don't need all this stress.

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Usually the falls require rehab and being out of the home for months and they hate it so much they cooperate to avoid falls. I insist of grabbing or holding them at the waist or being right behind them when they walk to stop all falls. It is annoying to them But it saves so much pain and frustration.

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It's possible that your father could qualify for hospice services if he has a diagnosis. Contact your local hospice or their primary care physician to get a referral for an assessment or to schedule an intake session. Hospice can provide a lot of support to families with aides, nurses and social and spiritual support.

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Beth in Peyton, CO
Aug. 17, 2018

Search for a long term care facility that could take care of them 24 hours a day. Elderly folks needs great deal of care and memory enrichment activities.

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Your parents are frighten, you have to remember that they have 70 + years of not trusting just anyone. It has been my experience to know  that you will have to introduce people to your parents. They need to know that you will be right their if anything is to happen and that you are making sure that they will be safe. Once  a caregiver is found,  like most children they will throw fits and give them a hard time because they are still fighting to keep their independence. However, once your parents trust they will find happiness and security and will let you live your life.

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Ben in San Jose, CA
Aug. 10, 2018

Need to be the Counselling by Medical officer .

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Laure in Edmonds, WA
July 30, 2018

I don't think your Mom's attitude is fair to you. Is her issue she doesn't have the funds to get help? Care.com can get a caregiver IN THEIR HOUSE staying with them, giving them both attention and providing what she is so afraid of. Seriously.

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Susan in Oxford, NC
July 28, 2018

Yes offer them a part time care taker that comes in helps where they need assistance. So when you come to visit it's just a social visit. Then they won't feel like you are trying to run their life.

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James
July 17, 2018

Have you tried sitting down with multiple family members and expressed your concern? Maybe jot a list of concerns with other family members in a "pre-meeting" or phone conference. Do it with love, grace, and more love. From her perspective, this is her duty and she loves your pops.

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Choices 1.someone stays with you 24/7 or2. placement by calling the public guardian to make an assessment power of attorney of health care. This is tough love 3. move them in with you. 4. Hire services like pic up drop off doctor appointments, meals on wheels, Uber app Pea Pod food delivery.

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Tamara in Phoenix, AZ
July 15, 2018

What does your Dad want? that's the question you need to ask him. By your mother falling do to taking care of him she is putting your dad in danger as well. it sounds like she is hold on to her independence as long as she can, which is very understandable. I would still down and tell her this are your choices. (1) we can call (APS) Adult protective services and they will evaluate and a lot of times they will take over, or (2) she needs to have a care giver there as many hours as they need no butts about it. In some cases a third party usually might get her to change her mind . I hope that helps. Best of luck

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Bring in help as cook. Teel your parents your concern with the eating properly and your bring in s chef to cook for them. It's actually a combo caregiver, housekeeper, driver and cook

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Betty in Vallejo, CA
March 27, 2018

Maybe take someone over and introduce them as a friend of yours and hang out a while let them get to know each other but dont force it let that go till later and before leaving ask if they need you to come by again and or offer to give them this persons number comment about them being close or having a open schedule or something of that sort maybe do it 2 times if possible but that is common elderly rarely want someone to care for them other than family but it goes away after they meet and get to know the potential careguver

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Karen in Jackson, NJ
March 21, 2018

Hi! My name is Karen. I am a 46 yr old mother of two, and I have been in the healthcare field my entire working life. I have worked with advanced-stage dementia patients, and Huntington's Disease patients. I am also CPR certified. I feel for you, as I have seem this situation so many times before. Unfortunately, the only thing you can do is take over. You must tell your mother that her safety and the safety of your father are the most important thing. If she keeps falling, she may break a bone, or worse, she may hit her head and never be the same. If you tell her this, hopefully it may work. I am not sure if you are looking for someone to take care of them, but I am just finishing up a case. I would love to help you. Here is my profile on Care.com. I hope this info. helps. -Karen- http://www.care.com/p/kareno14...

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Nancy in Fresno, CA
March 6, 2018

You could bring In Home help discussed as a housekeeper, or driver to appointments etc. That why the person gets broken in to your family slowly

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I've seen this before. What we did was introduced me as the daughters friend. I went to the home with the daughter a few times and helped her do things with her parents so they got use to seeing me after a few visits, I started going by myself as they got comfortable with me. I would say, I'm just her to do a pop up and see if there's anything y'all need It worked great. They just need consistency.

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Lynne in Toledo, OH
Feb. 13, 2018

Parents that are failing in age, want all attention on them. My mother refused help..until I told her it is either we get help in the home..or the other option is to get them in assisted living..pick a moving date and that is it. If you are power of Atty. in making health care decisions..you can do this. It is Always better to get someone in the home. Meet the caregiver at the house..prior to your conversation with your mother. Good Luck to you.

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Helena in Alachua, FL
Feb. 11, 2018

would she let you put him in a home and hire outside help to help her out so its not so much stress on you

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Give some encouragement too your loved one and say like give her/him the expression...."yOU REMEMBER HOW MUCH YOU LOVED GETTING UP AND HAVING YOUR INDEPENDENCE....iM HERE TOO MAKE THAT HAPPEN PLUS,THE CAREGIVERS ARE COMING IN TOO MAKE SURE YOU GONNA BE JUST FINE"...hAVE FOUND THIS HELP ENCOURAGING WORDS,COAXING THEM TOO HELP THEM TOO FEEL HAPPY AGAIN WITHIN THEIR HEALTH ISSUES TOO NOT LET THAT STOP THEM FROM HAVING A NORMAL LIFE AND POSSIBLY INDEPENDENT ONE..ONE DAY...SEEMS TOO HELP THE ISSUE...

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Laura in Garner, NC
Feb. 7, 2018

Everyone wants family (not strangers) in their home. You know your situation, and if caring for them causes you to put your life on hold...You can only do so much having your own family to care for. Examine your life and see what all you can do for them that doesn't make you feel you are "putting your life on hold". Can you compromise with them? Maybe you can cook extra and take them dinner every once in a while. With their health declining, they eventually will have to be realistic about their future and should have been preparing for it when you were a child.

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I would start with short hours with simply a companion. I think it is essential to build relationships with seniors who are uneasy about outside care help. Maybe just simply a housekeeper at first who is open to more duties as the comfort level increases.

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This is indeed a tough position for you to be in..we are only one person! Outside help seems to be a good solution for you, but your mother seems to be the one who needs convinced of that. I can understand her concerns, not wanting "strangers" in the house, but perhaps she needs more than one introduction to an outside person, one she can connect with better. Perhaps someone closer to her age would be more acceptable to her. Don't give up! Keep trying as I'm sure there's a good fit for your situation. Best regards, Ms. Jeremy

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User in Evans, GA
Feb. 6, 2018

If someone's health is at risk.u do what u have to do.

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Christy in Waco, KY
Feb. 5, 2018

I would go and meet your parents with you there and let them get to know me. Make me being around something that is fun and something they look forward too. It would take a little time and a little extra effort but before long they would look forward to my coming to visit them and to what i was going to cook for lunch or supper (I am a pretty good cook lol)

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I would tell your parents that you would like them to meet a friend of yours and go over for an afternoon visit. That way your parents will get to know this person. Perhaps you could arrange another visit just to look in on them and see if they want anything done or just a visit. Maybe this way your parents would get to trust this person to help them out and they won't feel like you are hiring an outsider.

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User in Sylmar, CA
April 14, 2019

Have your Parent be part of the Interviewing caregivers . Have them write down there own Questions for the Caregivers. Its there Home , they would feel more comfortable knowing they interview this person .

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User in Laurel, MD
Feb. 5, 2018

Unfortunately there is no right answer. The one thing that you must do is stay involved and try to incorporate your family as well. It would be helpful if you could find a family friend of your parents that they would be comfortable with to come in and provide care. That way they would be more receptive to the idea. If not, find someone you can really trust to come in and you be there at the early stages until they start to trust that person. There are some bad people out there so their fears are not unfounded. They just don't want to be abused and it does happen regardless of how much you screen or pay that person. What really works is patience and perseverance and just remember that they took care of you when you couldn't take care of yourself and so now its time for you to return the favor. Good luck!

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Are you there Power Attorney

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Theresa in Bowie, MD
April 5, 2019

In home care or assisted living. If their health and well being is a factor then you need to find out through the courts what your options are. If you are their power of attorney then you can do what's necessary to avoid either of them becoming a fatality in their present living situation.

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