How do we convince our mother to allow in-home help to care for our dying father?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 15, 2011
Joakim717 asked...

How do we convince our mother to allow in-home help to care for our dying father?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

In truth, you may be attempting the impossible. If adult children could be flies on the walls of their parents' homes, what many would hear most often would be the lament that their kids have become overly bossy or controlling -- a perception that can prevail even when all concerned have loving care and best interests in mind.

But it's worth a try to convince your mother to get help if you feel she is being overtaxed or unable to provide the care your dad needs.

First have a discussion with yourself about why you have come to the conclusion that such help is needed. Be honest and specific. Do you feel guilty for not providing more care yourself? Did you notice that your father isn't getting his medication on time? Does your mother seem stressed and fretful?

Then have a discussion with your mom about why she is so hesitant. Fear of loss of privacy? Hesitancy about the cost? Distrust of others' skills? You will then be best equipped to allay her concerns and perhaps overcome her resistance by presenting specific information about possible agencies or individuals that might be able to lend helping hands. Representatives from local hospice or in-home care agencies may be best able to assess your parents' situation and explain what services they could offer, so see whether your mother might be willing to meet with them just to exchange such information, with no obligation. If your parents have friends or neighbors who have had good experiences with in-home or hospice care, hearing their words may also hold sway for your mother.

You might also have the best luck by starting small -- perhaps picking off specific tasks or types of care such as laundry or respite and do a trial run so that she can experience how the help works for her.