Having a conversation with a family member about home care isn’t simple. They may not be noticing some of the things you are – challenges with self-care, managing their medications, repeated falls, depression caused by loneliness, and other signs that concern you about their well-being. At Home Instead Senior Care of Northern Milwaukee, we’ve helped many seniors accept outside help from a caregiver for the first time, and we’ve supported many families having those initial, challenging discussions about home care. Here are eight tips to help you when thinking about talking to an aging family member about home care:
Prepare for the conversation
Are you worried about their safety? Are they beginning to struggle with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, etc.? Write down your concerns so you’ll be able to be specific concerning your reasons for recommending home care.
Have the conversation as early as possible
Instead of waiting for a health scare or crisis to force the issue, facing this difficult discussion in advance can help everyone make an informed decision while not being under pressure.
If possible, talk in person
Crucial conversations are best held in person, when possible. If you live too far apart to get together personally, set up a video call so you’ll be able to see each other as you talk. If you can, pick a time when you and your loved one are both well-rested and relaxed; and choose a place and time when you can talk without being interrupted.
Be empathetic, not sympathetic
No parent wants their adult child to feel sorry for them. But they will accept empathy. Knowing that you care and that you’re trying to understand their frustrations and fears helps them maintain their dignity and keep an open mind about receiving home care.
Listen without judging
Your family member may have concerns, objections, and anxieties about having a non-family member come into their home and care for them. It’s important to listen carefully to their feelings and not minimize them. Asking questions acknowledges and validates their thoughts and opinions and helps you better understand their reservations.
Take your time
Accepting home care is a process for many seniors, not an event. Though you may want to wrap things up in a single conversation, that may not work for them. Instead, be prepared to have a series of talks, unless your loved one is in imminent danger.
Remember, their vote counts
Unless your loved one is mentally incapacitated, they have a choice in the matter. You may have to override their vote if they can’t take care of essential activities like eating, bathing, or toileting, but consider what they want when talking with them.
Avoid information overload
Start with a little information in your initial conversation, like discussing one or two of the services a caregiver provides. This will help keep them from feeling overwhelmed, which can lead to defensiveness and make it more challenging to resume your discussion later.
Home Instead Senior Care of Northern Milwaukee can tailor a home care plan to meet the needs of your loved one and fit your family’s lifestyle and budget. We offer both hourly and flat-rate services. Learn more about our home care rates and hours.
Questions? Give us a call today. We look forward to serving you and your family.