Discussing Care With Loved Ones
Discussing care with loved ones can be complicated, especially if aging family members are reticent to acknowledge age-related lifestyle challenges.
After nearly 20 years in the home care business, we’ve learned the earlier these conversations occur, the more fluidly families can implement support as needed. And open and honest discussions make it easier for your loved one to age at home independently.
If your loved one is determined to age in place, it’s imperative to begin discussing long-term care options. Here are tips on facilitating those conversations with as much ease as possible.
1. Prepare to Have Multiple Conversations
In our experience, immediate resistance to discussing care plans is a given. So don’t be surprised or upset. Unless dementia is in the mix, aging adults are more aware of their daily challenges and changes than anyone else.
Often, they need a little time to adjust to conversations around age-related changes and necessary support. Therefore, be prepared to have multiple conversations over some time, giving elders time to process, consider, and learn more about their options.
2. Be Attuned to Their Needs, Wishes, and Wants
Imagine if your children came on the scene and began telling you what help you need to keep living in your home. Odds are, you’d feel some resistance, too. The same is true for your parents. Just because a parent is older doesn’t mean they’re less capable of knowing what they want.
With this in mind, put your most compassionate words forward and deeply listen to what your loved one has to say so you can greet their perspective with understanding.
3. Call It a Graduated Long-Term Plan
If you’re in the midst of a crisis, like a fall-related accident that has led to hospitalization, you don’t have a choice. Emergency support is necessary. If, however, you’re noticing early signs of age-related changes or you see the writing on the not-so-far-away wall, the words “graduated” and “long-term” may be more palatable.
Have your loved one start by saying which situations would lend them to reaching out for help and write those down. Then, discuss your own signs/red flags that would cause concern and make you want to bring support into the mix. Having this information in writing makes it easier to acknowledge when it’s time to seek assistance.
4. Use Reputable Resources to Guide the Way
We post a wealth of information about when to consider home care, which includes things like:
- Difficulty driving
- Empty cupboards/refrigerator
- Retreating away from the things they liked to do (often related to driving issues or hygiene issues that make them embarrassed to go out)
- Weight loss (could be a sign they can’t prepare meals as they used to)
- Notable odors that indicate hygiene and daily personal care steps are becoming a challenge
Read our post, When to Consider Home Care, or find similar posts published by AARP or other reputable organizations. Read them out loud. When a neutral party presents the information, aging loved ones may have an easier time acknowledging it’s time without feeling threatened.
5. Talk About Graduated Support Options
There are many ways to bring in support without making adults feel as if their home is taken over and they’ve lost autonomy or dignity.
For example, many seniors are happy to turn over the house cleaning and laundry reins because those chores require strength and stamina that are less available as we age. Instead of hiring a professional house cleaner, consider housekeeping services from a licensed home care agency. Doing so puts a caregiver in place, making it easier to add on other services as needed.
Errand running and grocery shopping are other examples. Instead of using rideshare services, get a senior care provider on board to come once a week to shop, run errands, and share a meal in a favorite restaurant (a way to provide weekly companionship without calling it that).
By starting small, it’s easier for seniors to appreciate how these services enhance their daily quality of life. This results in a greater willingness to add other home care services to the weekly menu.
6. Make a List of Local Licensed Home Care Agencies
Home care agencies are happy to provide free, no-obligation consultations with prospective clients and their family members. Make a list of a few highly-rated or recommended agencies in your area and leave it with your loved one. Perhaps having the independence to reach out on their own will be more compelling than you taking over and doing it all for them.
7. Be Prepared to Let It Go
The bottom line is that your senior loved one has every right to refuse help and support, and you may have to let it go as the information percolates for a bit.
You should feel free to express your deepest fears, a fall or driving accident. You also have every right to be honest about how increased demands on you aren’t sustainable. By setting and honoring your boundaries, aging loved ones are more likely to move to in-home care support to live their life the way they want to live it.
Discussing Senior Home Care With Affordable Senior Home Care
Could your parent or grandparent benefit from home care or personal care services to ensure they are clean, dressed, and presentable to embark on their daily activities with dignity?
Consider working with Affordable Senior Home Care. We’re a licensed home care agency dedicated to providing companionship and personal care services that enhance the daily lives of our aging loved ones. Learn more about senior home care today.