Backing Away Resulted in the Right Caregiver Solution

Janet is one of five siblings. As her parents age, she and two of her sisters help their parents out the most. They go to their house, play card games, clean, and make meals. Her mom and dad are in relatively good physical and cognitive health for an 85- and 89- year-old, respectively. Despite that, the family is realizing that her parents need more care than these occasional visits can provide them. 

 Janet and her sisters gave their parents suggestions for getting additional help. They could hire caregivers to come into their home to assist or they could move to an assisted living facility. Talking didn’t get them very far, so instead they showed them what their options were, and that was their turning point toward making progress.

 Janet’s parents were reluctant to get help, despite having the financial means to pay their helpers. Knowing how her parents are excellent planners and would respond positively to a plan, she explained that the purpose of learning about care options is so that they have information to make a decision when they need to. And that they can plan accordingly. Oftentimes, decisions need to be made quickly, which wasn’t this situation. 

 Therefore, Janet and one of her sisters took them to tour three assisted living facilities. They felt like they were helping goldilocks, looking to find the solution that was just right. After touring the facilities, it became clear which one was just right. This was due to the facility’s flexibility in adding care as her parents needed it instead of having to “buy” the full package of care up front. So, her mom called and got on the waitlist. Janet told her parents that they could say no thank you when the facility called to let them know a unit was available. The facility would skip over them and call them when the next unit became available. Next up was to have a home health agency representative meet with her parents at their house to explain their services with her two sisters present. After they learned about their options, Janet and her two sisters made themselves scarce so that her parents had to figure out what type of help they wanted.

 Due to her parent’s ability for self-care and that they wanted to stay in their rural home, they decided to have Jasmine with home health come twice a month. In addition, Amber, was coming twice a month to help clean their home. At first none of the workers did the work as well as Janet’s mom; however, that is changing. Jasmine is now coming weekly, and her mom is getting to know her helpers and their families and is enjoying the company. In addition to cleaning, Amber fills in for meal prep in between Jasmine’s visits. Janet’s mom is enjoying mentoring and teaching her helpers her domestic goddess ways. Perhaps they are more responsive to her methods than Janet and her sisters ever were.