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Who Get's to Decide?

 

You want what is best for your parents, and you worry that they need additional help.  Your parents believe that they’re managing just fine on their own.


So, Who decides?


First of all, you need to consider whether your parents are cognitively well and capable of making sound decisions.  A “sound decision” is not necessarily a decision you agree with—two people of sound mind can arrive at different decisions!

 

 

Capacity to make decisions is based upon someone’s ability to understand the choices with which they are faced, and the consequences of their decisions.  For example, as an adult with capacity, you are aware that your chance of winning the lottery is very limited, and yet you choose to spend your hard earned money on a lottery ticket.  Someone could say that is an unwise decision because the consequences are not in your favour; however, you understand the risk involved and the likelihood that you will not win.  The reason that minors are not permitted to gamble is that they do not fully understand the consequences of their decisions.  As a capable adult, you are permitted to make decisions that others might judge to be unwise, but it is your prerogative to do so.


Your parents have the same right.  If they have the capacity—meaning they understand their options, and they understand the risk associated with those options—they are entitled to make decisions. 


My parents won’t face reality — they won’t decide anything!


While it might appear that your parents aren’t planning because they aren’t changing anything, they might just be sticking with the status quo because they aren’t aware of all possible options.  You feel that your parents require more help—have you suggested various sources or types of assistance?


It is possible that your parents view the decision as a dichotomy—living at home and “getting by” as they always have, versus complete institutionalization in a nursing home.  While these may be two possible options, there is a myriad of other options that fall somewhere in between!

 

 

Help educate your parents on some of the options for assistance that won’t feel like such extremes.  If your parents are cognitively well, it is their right to choose the type of care that they feel will best meet their current needs.  Engaging your parents in the research and ensuring that they feel in charge of their own decisions will ease the process.  When your parents realize that you’re not just trying to force them out of their beloved home (as so many seniors fear!), they might be more open to alternate care options.

 

To start your research journey, you can learn about some homecare options that emphasize health and wellness.

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Are you doing everything for your elderly parents?

 

You’ve been managing your own household, your parents’ household and now your in-laws need some help too.  You already feel stretched too thin, and your parents’ needs keep increasing. You need homecare support for your parents, but they refuse to even consider it.

 

Your father says he “doesn’t need a babysitter” and your mother declares that she can “do everything just fine myself”.  And by that, what she really means is that you are doing everything just fine for them!

 

Your parents think they’re managing just fine because you’re filling in all the gaps.  They don’t realize just how much you’re doing. They just benefit from the fact that everything gets done.

 

 

For years, you’ve been trying to follow your parent’s wishes.  You respect their decisions and do your best to help support them in those decisions. They keep saying they don’t want or need any help and you’ve been trying to respect it.

 

The problem is, they not only need the help, but they are also already receiving help.  The help is coming from you, and it’s now more than you can manage on your own.   It is okay to acknowledge that you can no longer provide all the assistance that they need.  You aren’t failing to respect their decision, you are making a decision that is necessary for your own health and wellness.

 

You can explain to your parents what you are able to do, and outline the tasks that are now becoming too much.  You can outline options for how your parents can fill the remaining gaps and empower them to make a decision that best suits their needs.

For example, you are willing to do the weekly grocery shopping and visit with your parents after putting all the groceries away, but it is no longer feasible for you to be cooking dinner for them every day.

 

You can then outline meal options for them.  They could order Meals on Wheels or another meal delivery service. They could move into a retirement home where meals are provided. They can have a caregiver cook meals together with them in their own kitchen, using their own preferred recipes.

 

You can help outline the pros and cons of each option, and how each option would fit into their lifestyle.

 

 

Stepping back and acknowledging what you need for yourself does not take away your parents’ ability to make their own decision. It just eliminates one of the options from the list—the option of you cooking the meals daily.

 

As long as you continue to be the primary option, as long as you continue to cook dinner daily, your parents will not seriously consider any other option on the list.  You need to clearly articulate what you can and cannot do, and then guide your parents through the decision making process about how to solve the remaining gaps.

 

Homecare can address many of those gaps and provide the individualized attention and assistance they are accustomed to receiving.  Homecare is not always just about the senior client; it is often about alleviating family members who have been doing far more than is sustainable. 

 

A wonderful caregiver—or team of caregivers—can take care of your parents’ to-do list so that it doesn’t all fall on your shoulders. 

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Change is scary but it doesn’t have to be

 

You’re worried about your parents and you think they could use more help.  You suggested homecare, but they wouldn’t hear of it.  They told you: “we’ve managed just fine on our own this long, we don’t need any help.”

 

What they’re really saying is that they don’t want to face change.

That’s because change is scary.

 

 

Change is scary for all of us, at some level. Each person has a different tolerance for change, and it might take a lot more change to scare some people than others. But if you introduce a drastic enough change, eventually, any of us would feel trepidation about that change.

 

It’s little wonder then, that for seniors in their 80’s or 90’s, the thought of even a small change can be quite scary. After eight or nine decades, they are likely pretty set in their ways. They want things done a certain way; they want to keep their environment the same. As long as everything remains the same, it feels more manageable. It might help your parents to understand that homecare is all about reducing the amount of change that your parents will experience

 

Warm Embrace Caregivers are trained to match each client’s specific preferences. 

 

Caregivers DO NOT barge into a client’s home and just take over. Caregivers DO wait to be invited in, and they ASK permission to proceed. They ask how that particular client prefers the laundry or housekeeping to be done. They cook from the client’s recipes or directions to match their particular tastes.   They help to keep clients’ lives consistent.

 

 

Homecare is one of the best prevention strategies to one of the biggest possible life changes: admission to a long term care home.  Moving to long term care is a HUGE change—absolutely every single element of someone’s routine is changed. From the time they get out of bed, to when they eat, and whether they wear pyjamas to breakfast—everything is adjusted to match the schedule of the long term care home.

 

Homecare ensures that individual clients maintain their own personal routine, they maintain their home, they maintain familiar comforts.  Caregivers match clients, rather than clients matching caregivers.  It reduces the amount of change they must experience.

 

Since homecare is completely client-focused, each client calls the shots. The client decides what they’re doing each day and how they want things done and in which order.  It is very empowering for seniors to get to make all the decisions that impact their own day-to-day living.  Homecare grants this level of autonomy and independence.

 

Help your parents to see that homecare will ensure the least amount of change and help them to maintain the lifestyle that they know and love.
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Independence means that you’re the boss!

 

You know your mother needs assistance, but she refuses to even consider it.  She insists that she doesn’t want to lose her independence. You’re frustrated because you’re trying to be proactive and prevent a crisis, but your mother won’t hear of it.

 

Be reassured!  You are not alone!  Your mother is not the first senior to bristle at the notion of receiving help.  In fact, most of our homecare clients here at Warm Embrace started out exactly like your mother—Estelle sure did.  Estelle started out adamantly insisting that she didn’t need or want any help at all.

 

 

I can hardly blame Estelle for resisting help.  Very few people are quick to put up their hand and say “yes, I need help”—and that is true at any age.  Our North American culture places a high value on independence, and many people tend to define that as “doing everything myself.”

 

Estelle rejected homecare because she was afraid that if she can’t do it all herself, then she won’t be considered independent.  In her mind, that would mean being one step away from a dreaded nursing home.

 

We define independence differently.  We believe that independence doesn’t mean that you do it all yourself; instead, independence means that you get to choose how everything is done.  Independence means that you’re the boss.  You make your own decisions.  It doesn’t mean you physically do everything; it means you have control in how it is done.

 

Homecare doesn’t take away a senior’s independence. In fact, it often does the opposite.  It often grants senior more independence. 

 

Estelle did not lose her independence, and that’s probably why she now adores her two favourite caregivers. Estelle did not lose anything; she gained.

 

 
Estelle benefited from:
  • Gaining two new best friends
  • Enjoying stimulating conversation
  • Eating healthy meals and having more energy
  • Re-establishing her social connections because her caregivers can drive her to events
  • More physical activity by keeping up with her caregivers—instead of just sitting watching TV
  • Improved sleeping patterns since she’s no longer napping all day out of boredom

Your mother could benefit from homecare just as much as Estelle.  Your mother can go from just barely surviving to actually thrive.

 

What NOT To Do:

When you mention the idea of homecare or introducing a caregiver, don’t highlight what your mother can’t do.  Don’t point out all the activities she’s no longer managing, even though it may seem obvious and glaring to you.

 

Do NOT point out that:

  • She has lost her licence and no longer drives
  • The only healthy meals she eats are the leftovers you bring
  • She hasn’t been to a social event in six months
  • Her housekeeping standards are slipping

 

What To DO:

Highlight all of the gains your mother will benefit from when she has a wonderful new caregiver in her life. Point out how her life will be even better.

 

DO point out that:

  • She can now go anywhere she likes without worrying about calling a cab
  • She can go to social events and visit friends she hasn’t seen lately
  • Her caregiver will be a new friend with whom to play scrabble
  • She will enjoy having a visitor in the lonely winter months when she doesn’t usually get out
  • Even when you’re out of town, she’ll still have a consistent visitor
  • She will be the boss and SHE gets to decide what she does, together with her caregiver

When seniors see that they are not giving anything up, they are not losing anything, they are more receptive.  Seniors are often keen to accept new friends and live life more fully.

Help your mother to see all that she stands to gain, and the conversation may be easier.  We’ve helped countless families through the exact same struggle you’re experiencing, and we can make suggestions specific to your situation.  Call us for more ideas!

 

A senior benefits from homecare by suddenly eating better meals and that senior now has more energy to independently manage more tasks. Another senior might benefit from our accompanied transportation and now that senior can attend all the activities and functions she once enjoyed.  She is regaining her life back; she is not losing independence!

 

 

When seniors recognize what they can gain from homecare, they are more receptive.  They are gaining a new friend who will ensure that they enjoy each day and live it to the fullest. 

 

The good news is, we managed to win them over and now they are clients who absolutely adore their caregivers and can hardly imagine life without Warm Embrace.

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