Clever Caregiving: A Creative Solution for Caring for a Stubborn Elderly Parent


How can we manage the care of our 91-year-old mother who requires assistance but adamantly refuses to live with us, rejects having anyone move in with her, and dismisses the idea of nursing homes or assisted living?

One approach that worked for a neighbor about five decades ago might offer a creative solution. Faced with a stubborn mother from the old country who resisted outside help and fired every hired person, the neighbor devised a unique plan. He recruited another person and presented the idea to his mother as someone looking to rent a room. This person would pay her weekly but, being financially tight, needed a reduced rent in exchange for helping around the house and addressing various tasks. The son then secretly supplemented the aide’s payment by $50 each week, which the aide handed directly to the mother. She, in turn, handed it to her son for safekeeping in the bank.

Initially assisting with household chores, the aide gradually introduced personal care. Over time, she assumed full responsibility for the mother’s well-being. The mother, oblivious to the arrangement, believed she had found a wonderful tenant who assisted her “a little.” She even offered a further reduction in her “rent,” thinking it was a better alternative to having a regular aide in her home, all while unknowingly benefiting from an extra $50 a week.


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