Jessica Rhodes

What you need to say and when you need to say it

February 03, 2010
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It is a new year! With all of the hustle and bustle, you have a ton on your plate. If you have aging parents or loved ones, you may have even more on your mind. If you saw your aging loved ones over the holidays, you may have noticed a difference in their health or capacities. Most families eventually have to deal with the complicated question: What do I say to my parents when they need more help than I can provide?

Here are some important things to remember when discussing the option of home care with your aging loved one:

Hiring a professional Home Care Aide does not mean your parents will lose their independence. When your loved one hears you suggest that a ‘stranger’ assist them, there will likely be some resistance, especially if they are only somewhat aware of their diminishing capabilities. Be slow, patient and understanding. Explain that a Home Care Aide is an employee and is not there to take away their independence, but will, in fact, enable your parents to be independent for much longer. Your loved one will no longer need to rely so heavily on their spouse, family members or friends for everyday needs, but will have an hired employee for those things. Reinforce the notion of independence and control and include your loved one in the interviewing and hiring of the Home Care Aide and in determining a schedule.

The best way to introduce care to your Loved One is slow and steady. The idea of around the clock care and companionship can be overwhelming (even if this is what they need). Instead, introduce the idea of someone coming over for a few hours, three or four days a week. Slowly, as a bond and trust begins to grow with the Home Care Aide, your loved one will begin to want their Aide around more. Home Care Aides are professionals who are familiar with the many difficulties of aging. They will ‘step up’ when they can and will assist your loved one with their personal care needs in addition to providing companionship and household help.

Older folks don’t believe that it’s possible for them remain in their home for the rest of their lives. This is a common misconception that children often don’t understand either. In the past, a “nursing home” was the acceptable step for an elderly person with compromised health. Today, our loved ones have the option of staying in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes. Home Care, on several levels from basic care and companionship to “skilled” care such as physical therapy, wound dressings, and medication management, is readily available and can evolve as needed. Starting home care early can also help. If a Home Care Aide is hired while the needs are minimal, parents will likely learn to appreciate, trust and even like the help provided and develop a relationship that can ease the transition when more care is needed.

Remember, you are in a very common situation. Home Care is a viable solution for your parents and will enable them to remain in their home, under safe, familiar and secure circumstances. To learn more about choosing the right Home Care for your loved one, check out the resources in the Goods and Services section at