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Getting Your Parent To Accept Help

My mom didn’t want any help in the house. But both she and my father were losing weight and my 2 older brothers were worried. My sister-in-law wanted my parents to go into a home. All 3 of us were long distant caregivers.

I watched my mom as she sat on a stool to try and cook. She was a fiercely independent woman and while I admired her, I knew cooking while sitting was dangerous and I was worried about her too. Still, I knew my parents didn’t need to go a home — she and my father just needed someone to come in and cook for them 3 or 4 times a week. A part time caregiver.

My mom’s biggest fear was that she was going to be forced to go to a home; away from all her friends in the gated Florida retirement community that my parents had lived in for 25 years.

So I sat my parents down. I explained to them that I wanted them to be able to stay in their home. That we all had the same goal. But I went on to explain to them that in order for them to remain in their home, they was going to have to accept a little help from a caregiver. At first my mom cried; she thought I was telling her she had to go to a home. But I gently took her hand and looked her in the eyes and said, “I want you to stay here in your home, mom. That’s why we have to get you and dad some caregiver help.” Reluctantly, my mom agreed. It must have been so difficult for her.

But now my parents were concerned with exactly who would be coming into their home. Given they were in their late 80’s, they were afraid of letting just any caregiver in their home. So I went to their Pastor and asked if he knew of anyone. Unfortunately, he didn’t. Next I called my parent’s doctor — and she gave me the name of a lovely woman named “Minnie.”

Minnie came over the very next day and we all interviewed her together. My mom made it clear that she would still be in charge. That she would plan the menus and go shopping with my dad for the ingredients. Minnie thought everything she heard from my parents was great and at the end of the interview, my mom hired her.
Planning the menus and shopping allowed my mom to feel in control. But Minnie – who could not have been a more delightful caregiver. She came and cooked 4 days a week for my parents. She came in about 1:30PM and served my parents their meal at around 3PM. She was cheerful, happy, a great cook and always let the kitchen spotless — and in the end, my mom looked forward to having Minnie come into their home.

Minnie worked for my parents up until my mom passed. She came to mom’s funeral and stood in line with our family to greet everyone. She was the best part time caregiver ever.

About Georgeana Mimms

Georgeana Mimms was a researcher at the Social Policy Lab of the Andrus Gerontology Center at the University of Southern California, Deputy Director of the Asociation Pro Personas Mayores and a Special Consultant to the Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging.