For seniors aging in place, home care may eventually become necessary. While it’s pretty common, your loved one may not like the idea of a stranger coming to their house to assist with things they’ve always done on their own. That’s why it’s important for you to discuss care with them ahead of time. If you’re considering home care for an aging loved one, but are not sure how to start the conversation with them, here are a few tips.
What are your main concerns about your loved one’s health and safety? Make a list of those concerns. Then, add to your list which in-home options you think could help and why. Here’s an example:
|Concern||In-Home Care Options||Advantages|
|Loved one is having more difficulty getting around the house and falls are becoming frequent.||Personal care assistant; mobility aid; companion care||Having someone there when a family member cannot be will give you and us peace of mind; A mobility aid could help you stay independent longer.|
|Loved one consistently forgets to take diabetes medication and family lives too far away to personally check in on all the time.||Personal care assistant; home helper; companion care; health aide||Any of these options can include medication management.|
Getting all of your thoughts together beforehand will ensure that you’re approaching the subject effectively. Use what you have come up with as notes for talking points. This is not necessarily something to show your loved one, but more so a brainstorming tool for yourself.
Before talking with your loved one, make sure that you’ve explored options and received advice from health professionals (whenever it’s applicable). Being involved in doctor visits is one easy way to stay in the know about health conditions and to personally speak with a professional who is already familiar with your loved one.
Pick a time when you’re both relaxed. If they’re prone to forgetfulness or changing moods, then don’t intentionally begin a conversation during an episode. This could confuse your loved one or make them feel attacked. If they’re not immediately open to a discussion, let it go and try again later.
This might be a talk that you have more than once. It’s okay to bring up a concern or two, make some suggestions, then allow your loved one to take the reigns. Listen to their concerns. Ask about their feelings. Address everything with love, understanding, and acceptance. Their feelings are valid too. If your loved one leads the conversation away from home care, drop it and come back to it later.
It’s important to let your loved one know that you are on their side. Make sure they know that every suggestion is for their well-being and your peace of mind. “I love you” and “I care about you” are more important than phrases like, “you have to.” Validate their concerns, but remind them that home care services can help keep them living independently in their own home.
Don’t bombard your loved one with information. Aging in place is a marathon, not a sprint. Their health and safety are obviously important, but an information overload can make them feel overwhelmed and, in turn, not open to any changes.
Curious about the cost of care? Then take a look at the Cost of Care Survey from Genworth Financial!
Originally published November 21, 2022