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How to Talk to Your Loved One About Needing Home Care?

What is the best way to communicate with a loved one about his or her need for care? How do you handle it when your loved one is resistant to even starting the conversation?

In many cases it’s not you that needs convincing about the need for home care but it’s a loved one. The typical response when asked if a loved one can use some help in the home is “I’m fine”. You’re probably frustrated on how to discuss the topic. We can help.

The Mayo Clinic Staff recently published an article on Caring for the elderly: Dealing with resistance.  In this article sound advice is given in how to start communicating with your loved one about his or her need for care such as:

•Determine what help is needed. Make an honest assessment of what kind of help your loved one needs and which services might work best.
•Choose a time when you and your loved one are relaxed. This will make it easier for you and your loved one to listen to each other and speak your minds.
•Ask about your loved one's preferences. Does your loved one have a preference about which family member or what type of service provides care? While you might not be able to meet all of your loved one's wishes, it's important to take them into consideration. If your loved one has trouble understanding you, simplify your explanations and the decisions you expect him or her to make.
•Enlist the help of family members. Family and friends might be able to help you persuade your loved one to accept help.
•Don't give up. If your loved one doesn't want to discuss the topic the first time you bring it up, try again later.

This is really great advice and Gina and I would like to share some of our tips on dealing with some resistance.

•A good self-assessment is a great start because often the senior and their family have difficulty in determining and communicating what they need. During this step, it's important to ask if there are things the senior likes to do but recently had to cut back or eliminate.   Also, are there activities of daily living they are doing that have become tedious and it would be nice if someone else did them either a family member or caregiver?  Try our on-line self-assessment and score a loved one’s ability to live at home.
•We’ve found that in a conversation about accepting care the following two points resonate: accepting care can prolong independence and a trial run is a great way to get started when you don’t know how much care is right.
•Prolonging Independence. The earlier we accept help it will actually help prolong independence and staying at home. One of the goals of caregiving is to change the picture at home to help seniors thrive and feel better.  Getting help can allow us to use the time to exercise both mentally and physically.   Do things we enjoyed but have cut back. Decrease the chances of something harmful happening at home like a fall.
•A trial run.  We often say we don’t have a crystal ball to help tell us how many services to start with and how much time is right?  An approach is to do a trial run.  Start with a little bit of help and see how it goes.  This helps the senior be more comfortable they are not locked into a certain level of care

Remind or explain to your loved one that they are in charge.   We had one senior that was very resistant to help. Their children had pressured them so much the door was almost closed. When we met the senior, did the self-assessment and hit the point on a trial run, the game changer was explaining they are in charge and they can change it so it’s working for them. The children were stunned their parent accepted help. It was great to be part of the solution to the family’s impasse on home care.

Our blog provides many supportive articles to help you navigate this topic. Last, but not least, our case studies may help your assessment of the best options for you and your loved one.