Approaching the topic of in-home care can be tricky. After all, admitting we need help is tough at any age! However, with a thoughtful approach, a few expert tips, and a whole lot of compassion, you can have a productive and respectful conversation with your senior loved one about their wants and needs surrounding in-home care. Take a moment to consider the following suggestions and put together a plan for breaching the subject with an aging family member or friend.
Waiting for a crisis to occur before talking about your loved one’s care needs often makes the entire process more difficult. Begin planting seeds before you jump into a full-on conversation. Perhaps you can ask your parent how he or she feels about another aging family member having to move into a nursing home. Or casually ask what kind of tasks they’re starting to find difficult. This can be a good way to get your senior loved one thinking about the future. Additionally, watch for outside cues or changes in circumstances that support the potential need for in-home care. For example:
- Has your loved one recently received a negative health diagnosis?
- Have they lost a spouse or close friend?
- Have you noticed a decline in their appearance, habits, or health?
These can be a segue into a larger conversation about their well-being and continued independence.
Like most things in life, practice and preparation are key for this discussion. Before sitting down with a senior loved one, make a list of talking points to keep yourself on track. It can be difficult to think clearly in the middle of a conversation, especially if emotions are high, so having a few notes can help keep the discussion constructive and beneficial for everyone involved. Think about who should be part of this conversation as well. Does your senior loved one often turn to one particular family member for advice? Do you know of another senior who could share their experience with in-home care? While you don’t want to create an overwhelming situation for your loved one, inviting a few knowledgeable friends to join can help offer answers and ease worries. If you’d rather approach your senior loved one alone, have a few examples ready that show how senior care services have helped others enjoy their independence longer and could help them too.
Remember, This Is A Conversation
And, most likely, the first of many. Accepting in-home care is a big decision. Give your loved one a chance to work through the details and do your best to answer any questions or concerns directly, honestly, and with empathy. Try incorporating a few of these suggestions:
- LISTEN … to what your loved one wants; don’t tell them what they need.
- STAY POSITIVE – mention things your senior loved one is already doing well and focus the conversation on how these care services will benefit them in the future.
- COMPROMISE – if your special senior isn’t ready for full-time help yet, suggest short-term or task-based assistance as a starting point.
Stress The Benefits
Many seniors think that requesting help is the first step in losing their independence when just the opposite is often true! The goal of in-home care services is to help your senior loved one remain in the comfort of home for as long as possible. Help explain that in-home care can enable them to complete tasks they may struggle with, and in turn, allow them to remain in their home longer.
This content is part of a partnership between Source of the Spring and Seniors Helping Seniors® to promote wellness and healthy aging throughout the local community. Seniors Helping Seniors® provides services to support seniors so that they can maintain their independence and remain in their homes. For more information visit shsbethesda.com. Photo: © zinkevych – stock.adobe.com