4 Ways to Get Family to Help with Aging Parents

get family to help with elderly parents

Why family doesn’t help with caregiving

Unfortunately, many caregivers are disappointed to find that family members don’t take on their fair share of responsibility.

There are many reasons why family members don’t help with caregiving – and it’s not always because they’re lazy and uncaring. 

Sometimes people don’t know where to start or what they could do. 

Others might feel like you don’t want or need any help.

And some people just don’t realize how much time, energy, and sacrifice caregiving really takes.

To get you the help you need and deserve, we share 4 ways to convince reluctant family members to do their part.




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4 ways to get family to help with caregiving

1. Start with a one-on-one conversation
Choose one family member to start with and plan a one-on-one conversation with them.

Keeping the initial conversation private makes it less likely that they’ll get defensive or argumentative because they feel put on the spot or ganged-up on in front of a group.

And even if you’re angry or resentful that they haven’t been doing anything to help, do your best to keep a friendly, conversational tone. As the saying goes, “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

Keeping your cool makes these conversations more productive and helps you get the caregiving help you need to get some well-deserved time for yourself.

During the discussion:

  • Tell them that you need more help with caring for your older adult.
  • Find out if there’s anything they’d like to help with or suggest tasks that fit their skills and interests.
  • Tell them what would be most helpful for your older adult.
  • Let them know what would be most helpful to you.

 

2. Be specific
Don’t assume that anyone can read your mind or will be able to pick up on hints or signals. If you need help with certain tasks, specifically ask for them. 

For example:

  • If you’re looking for someone to independently research ways to make incontinence care easier, let them know.
  • If want to talk on the phone to discuss whether or not Dad needs to stop driving and brainstorm how you’d bring it up with him, make sure you say so.
  • If you’d like to take every other Saturday off from visiting Mom and have them take over on those days, bring it up for discussion.

 

3. Share information about appointments, important information, and instructions
When someone doesn’t know much about what’s going on, they can feel excluded or assume that nothing is going on.

Not having any information means that they won’t be able to understand the situation, which makes it less likely that they’ll help.

Solve this problem by sharing important information, such as:

  • Your older adult’s usual daily routine
  • Upcoming medical appointments, regular outings, or special events
  • List of medications and supplements
  • Any current problems or concerns

 

4. Keep a list of important tasks
In caregiving, there are so many errands and tasks that need to be done for your older adult.

Keep a list of all these To Do items so you’re ready to share the work whenever someone is available to help.

Your list might include:

  • Pick up prescription refills
  • Pay bills
  • Shop for groceries
  • Cook and prep meals
  • Do laundry
  • Clean the house
  • Schedule and organize social events – lunch, family visits, etc.

 

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By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: This Caring Home


2 Comments

  • Reply March 8, 2019

    Ben

    I’ve been a caretaker for my step mother for 12 years (maybe a little more). She had a stroke and is unable to do anything on her own. I can count on one hand the number of times her son or daughter willingly (without it being her birthday) came to see her. The daughter is a six hour drive away, but her son lives in the same sub-division not five minutes away. I’ve asked for help from both. The daughter will only come if I pay her, the son just will not help. I disliked the woman from the beginning (I mean from the moment I met her, 22 years ago). Now no one except for my father (her husband, who got a girlfriend immediately after it happened) and myself help her. Make sure she gets to doctors appointments, as that is all she seems to have the energy to do. Feed her, bathe her, etc.. I didn’t want to do this in the first place however there is literally only my father and I can’t just abandon him. I’ve been doing this since my first year of college (that didn’t last long). We can’t afford a care facility and my father doesn’t trust anyone in the caretaker industry. I often wonder how much longer until I can stop. I hate this. It has taken control of my life. I haven’t had a girlfriend in 12 years now. Will I get to have a life at all?

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