Acknowledging that your parent might need some help with day-to-day activities is a burden few of us are ever prepared for. Talking to your parents about introducing them to a professional caregiver isn’t the easiest thing in the world either.

They are likely to put up fierce resistance because they perceive it as an attack on their independence. Approaching this subject requires you to be both patient and tactful. It’s a conversation that has to be had because ignoring it just makes things worse in the long run, especially because it puts them at a very high risk of injury.

List out the advantages of having a caregiver

Inform your parents about all the advantages of having a caregiver. A common misconception they will likely harbor is the total loss of independence. Explain to them that care is only provided when needed and the caregiver will not interfere with their quality of life otherwise.

If they are still resistant to the idea, float the possibility of in-home care. It’s often cheaper and allows them more freedom. This strategy is especially effective if both of your parents still live together.

Have a heart-to-heart

While your parents are the central focus of the story, don’t forget to mention all the ways of not having someone to take care of them affect you. If you’re the primary caregiver, explain how much burden parenthood on top of caregiving takes a toll on you. This is usually the biggest concern.

It does still help to make them the focus of the story in this conversation, however. Explain how much you worry about their health and safety and how important it is for them to take their medicine, for example.

Give them options

While budgets may be limited, one piece of advice professionals from Tandem Careplanning stress on is giving your parents options. Rather than shoving a home care provider in their face and trying to talk them into it, make them comfortable with the decision then bring in the new homes.

Turn the search into a collaborative effort rather than a one-sided decision to reduce their resistance to the idea. It’s the first step towards giving them a measure of control in the matter.

Get professional advice

Discuss the situation with your parents’ doctor or primary care physician. Since he/she is likely someone they know and trust, they will likely share your concern and give you advice on how to approach the matter.

If you are completely unable to talk about the matter, they may even be willing to step in and assist you further. If you don’t have a family doctor, talk to a geriatric care manager. These are professionals tasked at assessing the situation and providing even more nuanced pieces of advice.

Mitigate the most common fears

It’s common for elderly people to act hostile towards caregivers, but it’s a natural instinct present in most of us. Common fears include the loss of independence, loss of dignity and loss of control.

Considering they are in a vulnerable position and their primary caregiver is an outsider they have likely never met, their fear is understandable. It’s important to mitigate these fears before settling on a care provider.

Run a short trial

Once you have both reached a decision, try hiring a caregiver for a short period before going full-time. This strategy is more efficient in case they are recovering from a tragedy such as a fall or something similar. It serves as a way of demonstrating the presence of a caregiver won’t curtail their freedom or address whatever other fears they may have.

More from Beliefnet and our partners