You might notice that Dad is always searching for his car keys, mum has trouble remembering appointments....perhaps your Aunt forgets her medication. Most of us will experience deterioration in memory and concentration when ageing, it’s natural and not necessarily an issue. Though it is natural for older adults to become more forgetful, it could also be an early warning sign for Alzheimer’s.You can use lists, notice boards, and reminders to help out. However, if this is progressively getting worse; they are unable to perform daily tasks, forget commonly known things, unable to follow a story, or instructions then it may be time to be checked out by the GP.
Here are our 6 tips, based on our years of experience with families facing these struggles, to help you approach the conversation with your parent with greater success:
1. Focus on maintaining independence
Explain why hiring a caregiver is a way for your parent to maintain their independence in their own home. Of course, this is easier said than done. Perhaps paint a visual picture for them. Have they already fallen once or twice? Explain what could happen if they fall again – how it could lead to broken bones, surgery and hospitalisation, followed by a lengthy recovery period.
Perhaps highlight your concerns around how they forgot to take their medication, miss doctor appointments, miss meals...or even aren't able to get out as much. Focus on concerns or activities that are important to them. For example, your parent may resist needing help, but may be amenable to someone helping with housekeeping and preparing some meals. Or they may acknowledge that they don’t like to drive at night but still want to attend their weekly bridge game. Let them know how concerned you are for them but that you know how important it is for them to be independent and that home care could be a perfect solution to that.
2. Highlight the benefits for or impact on somebody else
Explain to your parent how much you worry about them. If your parents are still living together, try suggesting that in-home care would benefit their spouse. They may be more willing to accept the care for the sake of their loved one, even if in reality, it is equally beneficial for both parents. Or if you have been acting as primary caregiver explain how hard it is for you to manage, on top of career or parenthood responsibilities. You might try saying, “Mum, I worry about you…and even if you tell me I shouldn’t, it keeps me up at night. Would you try having someone come in once a week for me?”
3. Mitigate fear
An elderly person can act hostile towards a loved one who introduces care or even a hired caregiver at times, but this action is usually out of fear. Common fears include loss of independence, losing control and dignity and financial worries. The presence of an outsider could also leave the elder feeling vulnerable. Take this into consideration when discussing with them, raise those fears in advance and discuss each one, highlighting how you can manage each of them together. For example, highlighting how the cost of some support at home is far less than a residential home and still allows them to be independent. Respond with empathy rather than with frustration. It is important to choose an appropriate time and place for these discussions and set aside time for them.
4. Baby steps!
Try hiring an outside caregiver for in-home help on a short-term basis for respite, or recovery care, after being discharged from the hospital or after a fall. This provides an ideal opportunity for you to be assured by the level of care and to show your parent that having a caregiver is not something to fear. This often leads to them being trusting and open to receiving ongoing care. If they currently rely on you, another family member or friend as their primary caregiver or source of help, try using a holiday as an opportunity to bring in a professional caregiver. Introduce the care giver in advance, perhaps just for some companionship initially, and explain that it is for your own peace of mind.
5. Get advice from a professional
Try discussing the situation with your parent’s doctor, as someone they have probably known for years and trust. If they share your concern for your parent, they are likely to want to help by talking to them, explaining why in-home care is a good option for them. Caremark (Mid-Surrey
) also provide expert and trusted advice and support on any care concern, including signposting wider support services and providing you with further advice on how to best introduce new living arrangements for your loved one.
6. Summarise the advantages
Make quality home care provided by a hired caregiver desirable to your loved one. Some benefits for hiring professional home care for your parent may be that rather than having to move to a nursing home, they can remain at home; in-home care is often less expensive; they will be given one-on-one attention when their caregiver is there, they can maintain their routine, social visits or hobbies. Focus on the advantages - your parents can continue to age comfortably at home, they will receive personalised attention from the caregiver, with ongoing and often less stressful, support from family. They really do hate to give up their independence, but if you go about it in the right way, you will succeed!
It's vital to be able to spot signs that your elderly parents need more help. Once you have and you have followed our tips for having 'the conversation', a home care service can provide as little or as much support as you and your family require...drop-in visits, companionship, practical help around the home, and personal care.
Many children of elderly parents, especially if they live far away from them or have demanding work or other family responsibilities, find this a comfort and reassurance to know that there is support close by. An elderly parent will resist the idea of giving up any of their independence, but if you go about it in the right way, you will succeed and everybody will benefit in the end!
to process a request for a local council assessment of your loved one's care needs.
Caremark (Mid-Surrey) provide the highest quality of home care and support, along with advice and guidance. From personal care to companionship, we care about our clients and our community.