Dear Mary
Help is needed. Help is not welcomed.

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Dear Mary,

My boyfriend’s parents are both in their early 90’s, still living in their own condo and need some help. His Mum is having some memory issues and his Dad has some mobility issues. Their adult kids take them to appointments and help with their shopping. They need help directly in the home with things like cleaning and cooking. They are also very lonely and have no friends. My husband’s mother is adamant that she does not want or need help. Money is not an issue. There are funds to hire help. The issue is getting his Mom to agree to the hired help and letting that person in the door. Any ideas will be appreciated.

 

Ruth

Hi Ruth:

I remember how hard it was for us to try and get my Mother to agree to help coming into her home. I found that she became more and more paranoid and very territorial about her home. She trusted no one and thought that everyone was either taking her money and things or that the female workers only wanted to have sex with my Dad. Getting help into their home often failed. I remember one time when my Mom just got up from the table and started to attack the PSW. The poor PSW, she left and never came back. Can you blame her?

In our family situation, there were only a couple of ways that help was allowed to come into my parent’s house. Sometimes we told my Mother that the help was either for my Dad or this new person was a friend of mine, who needed some extra cash and would my Mother allow her to come in. Sometimes she accepted these ideas, most times she did not, just depended on the day. She never agreed to have help for herself though. My Dad played along, he knew the help was mostly for her.

I would also like to mention that both of your boyfriend’s parents be examined by a medical doctor. This is important because knowing their issues and limitations will help set the framework for care. I would also suggest that you speak with several geriatric care management organizations in your area. These organizations can provide advice on Home Care, Assisted Living and Care options (both for today and for future needs). They may have suggestions and experience about bringing in help in difficult / unwelcoming situations. Some of these groups also offer or can recommend day programs that are fun, social ways for older people to stay engaged with society. Most towns and cities have Seniors’ Centres and/or community groups that support seniors.

The real trick to getting help into their home (that adds value to their day and respects their wishes) is to find professionals to help. Ask your friends for referrals for organizations that they have hired.   Getting in-home help may be a “hit and miss” situation at times, but it is a great way to help people stay in their own homes longer.

 

Mary

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Caregiving Matters

Mary is a daughter. She also Chairs our charity. Mary has also held Director roles on three other boards, most recently with The Palcare Network of York Region.

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