There’s always a moment when you realize your elderly loved one needs help. Maybe it’s the day they can’t make their bed or you notice them struggling to get around the house. It could be something as simple as realizing that grandpa is spending all his time in front of the TV instead of spending time on his favorite hobbies. That’s when you know it’s time to have a discussion with your loved one about aging in place and long-term care options such as assisted living facilities and home health aides. We call this the “living room conversation,” and we have some tips on how to have it when your senior loved one needs help.
The hard part is having this home care conversation because many seniors are reluctant to think about getting old, let alone talk about what will happen if they’re no longer able to take care of themselves. You may feel like you’re upsetting them or that you’re forcing them to face a difficult reality, but it’s important to have the discussion sooner rather than later before a health emergency forces the issue.
So, how do you begin such a challenging conversation?
Approach Is Everything
The most important thing to remember is that you must approach the conversation in a calm and understanding manner, taking into account your loved one’s feelings and concerns. They’re likely gradually sensing a loss of control already, and it’s important to keep in mind that people in older generations often pride themselves on being self-sufficient. Because of this, they may be more resistant to accept or recognize the need for help. Empathy is key.
As challenging as this conversation is for seniors, it can also be difficult to come to terms that someone you look up to can no longer do the things that they used to do. This means emotions may run high. Take care to stay level and collected throughout the process.
Focus on a Gradual Modification
Don’t charge into the conversation with a list of changes and demands. Instead, discuss how you can gradually start the process. Discuss what a few hours of assistance may mean in terms of personal care, home care, transportation to medical appointments, etc.
Include Them in the Conversation
Though your elderly loved one is coming to a point in their lives where they need a little assistance to maintain their quality of life, they’re still an adult. Respect their independence and agency as much as you can. After all, they have a lifetime of living alone and overcoming challenges on their own.
- Avoid speaking about your senior with other family members or even the care team as if they’re not in the room.
- Give them choices where possible and avoid making decisions for them.
- Take care to address their questions even if they don’t reflect your immediate concerns.
Yes, the home care conversation is a challenging conversation to have, but it’s vital to the safety, health, and quality of life of your elderly loved one. You’re not alone in this journey and you deserve support just as they do. ComForCare Home Care (Canton, MA) can help you facilitate this conversation. If you and your family feel it’s time for a loved one to get assistance, call (781) 821-2800.
Having a hard time deciding which home care option is right for your loved one? Download our Ultimate Guide to Senior Care to make your decision easy.
Whether your loved one needs assistance only a few hours a week or around-the-clock, our team is happy to help! Call (781) 821-2800 to learn more about the transition care services offered through ComForCare Home Care (Canton, MA).