How can we convince my father, who has cancer and can not live alone but insists, to move in with us?

3 answers | Last updated: Jul 08, 2011
A fellow caregiver asked...

I'm trying to get my father, who is a cancer patient, to move in with us as he can not care for himself. He is dead set on staying in his rundown house while he could live with us. He lives in Lynchburg, VA and we live in central Florida. How can we convince hm to move?

Expert Answers

Merrily Orsini, MSSW, was a pioneer in the business of providing geriatric care managed in-home care. She currently serves on the board of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice and is Chair of the Private Duty Homecare Association. She holds a master's degree in social work and is a nationally known writer and speaker on aging, elder issues, and in-home care.

Many of our readers are struggling with this same issue. One of the hardest things in life is to see a loved one ill or unable to care for himself and not be able to provide the care that you would like to give. Sometimes when a situation becomes totally unsafe, a decision can be forced, but that leaves family rancor at a time when love and care should be the mutual feelings.

One thing you can do for your father is seek local assistance. Try his local Area Agency on Aging or, if he belongs to a church, find out if they have outreach. Try to be certain that someone is checking on him, making sure he has food, and that gets any care he can get from local sources. If there is a geriatric care manager in the area they can be hired to check in on him, and to arrange for necessary services. A personal emergency response system is an inexpensive way to monitor someone at home, so if there is an emergency there is a local response.

If his cancer is terminal, then hospice can be a great support, as they have counselors who can discuss his options with him.

Because this is his life and he wants to end it the way he chooses you may lose the battle of getting him to relocate. But taking these measures can help bring him some measure of safety and comfort, and you some peace of mind – even from a distance.

Community Answers

Brucha answered...

My dad was just the opposite. he lived in a senior retirement facility and wanted to move in with us. Because he had multiple issues-cancer, profoundly deaf, and dementia like symptoms, we felt that a nursing home would not have been helpful. We searched for a single family one floor house and added grab bars to his room, the hallway and the bathroom. We moved in together he had the VA for assistance and we were able to get a Medicaid waiver to help with additional caregivers. We had signed up with Council on Aging in Memphis. They were very supportive and helpful but I guess the key difference is that my Dad wanted to come and live with me. Perhaps you could get the Council on Ageing to provide some paid assistance for him to remain in his home. You know sometimes my dad would say he had eaten and did not so it would be helpful if you could have someone come in to check on him. I have friends who are volunteers for Meal on Wheels. If he qualifies, they could be a resource to check on him. In some cities, postman check on seniors on their routes, another resource. Some security firms have those pendants so if you have a Brinks system, and you fall, you can contact the Central Command and they will alert an emergency system. My Dad had many problems and we did have caregivers. I took some shifts as well. I never wanted him to go to a nursing home because I did not think he would have gotten the care he needed. I did what my dad wanted as far as I could tell and do not regret it. I hope this helps bottom line is there are resources in every community which could provide help if he is unwilling to move. Meals on Wheels, Post Office (mailman) Medicaid Waiver program through the state. This program was designed to help people remain in their homes and not go to a nursing home if they did not want to go.

Kcpetermann answered...