Peeling the Onion: Our elderly relative has an abusive housekeeper. What are her options?

It was decided with our elderly Aunt that she should downsize her current home and use the opportunity to distance herself from her abusive housekeeper. The question was to do it in a way that would cause the smallest waves and not precipitate some backlash from that housekeeper. Our approach would be aided by a peeling the onion activity to flush out her best alternatives. In view of her age and the stress of thinking, I decided to take on the exercise and then discuss the outcome with her.

I set about creating a “peeling the onion” question which would start the decision-thinking process. My question and associated considerations came out as: “What it our best ‘peel the onion’ option for moving an elderly relative to a smaller place and ending the relationship with an abusive housekeeper, considering the obvious wisdom of downsizing, the unpredictable reaction of the housekeeper, removing a threat, and putting our relative in a safer situation?” Again, these were the most important considerations. Fortunately our elderly aunt had already started talking about the idea of downsizing, since her house is unwieldy and requires a lot of upkeep.

From there I created two Yin and Yang “bookends” representing the most unlikely options. You will find these in our Latest Example and they came out as follows: “Not take action,” at one end, with, “Offer to take the housekeeper into the downsized home” at the other. It is pretty clear why these don’t cut it, along with the reasons given in our picture example.

Now I set about coming up with reasonable options, now that my mind was primed by the right question and associated bookends. One of the five, and I aimed for at least five, turned out as: “Make a deal with the housekeeper to take care of her over next year or so” …option D.

I will now share this thinking and options with the aunt and allow her some emotional distancing time to allow her intuition to reflect on these sub-options (Peel the onion) and then call on her to make an optimal choice. We can then create an action plan.

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.
Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Should we invest in a new prime restaurant location?” We’re always interested in your COMMENTS or go to to connect with the blogger.)


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