The idea of home care may be discouraging or even frightening for some elderly people. Admitting the need for help doesn’t always come easily, and your loved one may feel like they are losing their independence. They may also be facing losses in other parts of their lives: loss of a spouse, loss of physical ability, loss of health, or loss of social connections. With so many things happening that are beyond their control, adding a significant adjustment like receiving care from someone they don’t know can feel like just another unwelcome change for many seniors.
As a family caregiver, you may see some of the changes your loved one is experiencing as important reasons why home care should be considered. Your mom or dad may be experiencing a loss of mobility, difficulties maintaining daily routines, a decline in mental acuity, or an inability to keep up with personal hygiene. Home care may seem like a wonderful opportunity to get some help with care so that your loved one can stay in their home. But they may not see it that way.
Helping Seniors Understand the Need for Home Care
For many seniors, agreeing to home care may feel like a loss of independence. This can contribute to feelings of anger, fear, vulnerability, or sadness. If that’s the case, one of the best things you can do is provide a listening ear. Take time to listen to your loved one’s concerns and don’t minimize the way they may be feeling. Instead, do everything you can to involve them in the decision.
Here are a few ways you can approach the subject:
- Talk about the benefits - Help your loved one understand that home care is there to support them, not to take away their independence. Talk through benefits such as getting assistance with personal care, meal preparation, transportation, and companionship. Reassure your family member that your goal is to support them, and that they will be able to remain independent at home.
- Talk about your concerns - If you have concerns about your loved one, share those honestly and with compassion. For example, you may be concerned about the possibility of a fall, or you may have noticed that your mom or dad forgets to take medication. Perhaps you are concerned that they aren’t eating healthy meals or that they aren’t able to take care of themselves the way they used to.
- Be transparent about your own needs - If you are the sole caregiver, you may be feeling overwhelmed. As your loved one’s needs become more time-consuming, you may not be able to manage their care alone while also meeting your other responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to share these needs with your loved one in a gentle, compassionate way. Help them understand that you are both working toward the same goal: making sure they have the best possible care.
- Evaluate the different options - Talk through the specifics of your loved one’s needs, and then evaluate the different options for meeting those needs. This can sometimes be a powerful way to demonstrate that things cannot continue as they are, while also offering an option that allows your family member to remain at home.
Tips for Talking to Your Loved One
Talking about change is never easy, especially if your family member is resistant to the idea. Carefully planning your approach ahead of time is the best way to encourage them to consider a different point of view. Here are a few tips for starting a conversation.
- Enlist a family member to help - If your mom or dad is especially resistant to the idea of a conversation about home care, ask a sibling or another family member to help. Be sure to talk through the entire situation with this person ahead of time, especially if they are not closely involved in caregiving. Be sure they understand why you feel this step is necessary and that they will support you as you communicate the need to your senior loved one.
- Choose the right time - Choose a relaxed setting when you don’t have anything else planned and you won’t feel rushed. Avoid bringing up the topic when there has been an incident that causes you or your loved one to feel stressed.
- Consider your loved one’s preferences - Be sure your mom or dad feels like they are involved in the decision and that their opinions matter to you. You may not be able to accommodate every preference, but try to include their perspective as you decide who will be responsible for care and what services are needed.
- Demonstrate understanding of your loved one’s emotions - Give your family member plenty of time to talk about how they feel. Show compassion for feelings of loss, sadness, or fear and share your own feelings as well. Try to understand where they are coming from and work together toward a solution.
- Address the issue of cost - If your loved one is concerned about the cost of care, be sure you have a plan before you bring it up to them. Talk with your siblings or other family members ahead of time and see what options are available to you.
If your loved one is still hesitant about what home care might look like in their situation, you can start with a free Home Care Assessment from Cherished Companions. We will conduct a free in-home evaluation to help you determine what kind of care would be most helpful, discuss cost effective options, and answer any questions you may have. This is an excellent way to make sure your mom or dad understands exactly what home care entails and how it could help them.
For further questions, to request resources, or to inquire about getting or becoming a caregiver, contact Cherished Companions today on our website or call (440) 484-5390!