Facing The Inevitable: How To Talk To Your Loved One About Home Care

Posted on: 10 June 2015

At some point, your loved one will need help with everyday living. Even seniors who don't have dementia or debilitating diseases get to a point where they are not able to completely care for themselves. It's often a hard topic to breach, but there are ways to make it easier on you and your loved one.

Have a Family Discussion

If there are other family members who need to participate in the decision to transition your family member to home care, call a meeting. It's best when you are all on the same page as to what is needed and how to implement it without causing your loved one too much undue stress. Once you have made a plan, have a friendly and open discussion with your loved one as a group. Present a united front, but make it clear you are not ganging up on them or trying to force anything on them that they don't need.

Start Early

Don't wait until your loved one is in serious danger or has already had an avoidable accident. Start discussing the types of assistance available before it is needed to make the transition easier. Engage them in the decision making; after all, it is their life you're talking about changing. Perhaps have them visit and join a local senior center, where they can see that getting help does not diminish them as a person.

Start Small

It's often beneficial to ease a senior into complete home care by starting out slowly. For example, hire someone to help with yard work or housekeeping. Ask one of their more able-bodied friends to share shopping trips so they don't have to drive. A good first step is to order a meal brought in once a day to get them used to having someone come to the house on a regular basis. Often, these situations are well accepted and a relief to the person receiving the help, without being overwhelming.

Overcoming Objections

It's difficult for seniors to accept that they need help. The main thing to remember is to treat them with respect and and let them know that you are not criticizing them, but you are concerned and want them to be safe and healthy for many years to come. Never give ultimatums unless there is simply no choice than to have someone with them full-time and they are refusing to allow it. Unless a senior is declared incapacitated by the court, you cannot legally force help on them.

Transitioning from total independence to even partial dependence is difficult for most seniors. It's very important for families to present a united front and be respectful and loving when having the talk about home care services. It may help to have a representative of a local home care agency, like Handle With Care In-Home Care & Assistance, come out and tell them what services are available so they can make the decisions themselves. Starting the talks early, making changes slowly, and doing them with love will make your loved one more comfortable with the transition.