TACKLING A TOUGH CONVERSATION ABOUT NEEDING HOME CARE
The topic of needing home care can be sensitive. It’s a tricky conversation to have with a loved one, but if they need care the conversation will be a big step towards reducing worry, preventing an accident and potentially saving a relationship.
Before you engage in this conversation you should make sure you fully understand the need for care and don’t just assume. A great resource we recommend to families is the Live Well at Home Rapid Screen. This seven-question quiz is designed to identify seven risk factors that are most likely to cause older adults to move permanently from their homes to a long-term care setting. Once those risks are assessed you can take action and allow your loved one to live in their home independently for as long as possible.
Letting a loved one know you are genuinely concerned for their well-being might not be enough to convince them of their need for extra care. Here are a few tips that might help ease the tension of this sensitive topic.
1. It’s all about timing. Make sure you are both at your best. Choose a comfortable environment and a relaxed time. If tempers start to rise or you can see a new approach is necessary then table the topic for another time.
2. Include other relevant family members. Although you don’t want to appear to gang up on a loved one, you should include any family members that are a part of the current care team or are directly impacted by the needs your family is facing.
3. Frame the conversation around planning for the future. Talk about what you see going on and ask for your loved one’s input. Do they have concerns about their current situation? Do they have any suggestions? What are their concerns for the future?
4. Be prepared. If you are going to bring up the topic of planning for the future or necessary care you should come prepared with several options. Do not make demands about what needs to be done, but rather make suggestions.
5. Relate their situation to someone else they know. Have one of their friends had to make necessary changes in their life including extra care or a change in living environment? How does the friend feel about it? How does your loved one perceive that change?
6. Consider your relationship. What is your relationship with your loved one? Does it allow you to be direct? Are their underlying tensions that could be counter-productive? Point out to your loved one that receiving extra care will allow for you to rebuild your relationship as a child, spouse or friend instead of continuing to experience the strain caregiving can have on both parties. Remember – be careful not to parent your parent. Treat them with dignity and respect by allowing them to weigh in on their own future.
7. Bring in some back-up. Having Freedom Home Care come to your home for an in-home assessment takes some of the pressure off of you when it comes to this touchy topic. Through our assessment we can ask the tough questions that might be uncomfortable for you to bring up. The in-home assessment can be a good conversation starter between family members when it comes to what care is needed and just how much care is necessary.
It can be a hard thing to tell someone you love they need additional care, but keep in mind the end goal is providing your loved one with the best possible care while allowing them to keep their independence and dignity. Take time to plan ahead and think about what is the message you want to convey and how you plan to deliver it. And remember, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are many resources out there for caregivers.