Sadly, the topic of whether someone needs some help from a domiciliary, or home care agency or other outside source care can be a delicate topic that many older adults would prefer to avoid. So, how do you bring up sensitive subjects like care and support related to the effects of getting older? We’ve put together some tips and conversation starters to help overcome the awkwardness.

When to start discussing the need for care

Try an open a conversation about any issues or problems you’ve observed and ask your loved one what they think is going on. We would suggest that you think carefully about how to start the conversation, whether your loved one would respond better to a low-key, even jokey, opening to the conversation, or a heavier “we need to talk” kind of approach.

If they’re open to the discussion and what’s going on, start by asking what you can do together to help the situation and ask what they think would be viable solutions. If they don’t acknowledge the problem or shrug it off, then you can either drop it until you observe the situation arising again or, if you want to pursue it, use concrete examples to support your concerns. (If your loved one has dementia then be aware that part of the condition may be that they are not capable of recognizing their impairment so it would be better to seek expert external help.)

Play up the benefits of Home Care

Be conscious that even if things are getting tougher, parents may go to great lengths to deny, or play down, any problems to protect their independence. Instead of focusing on how your loved one needs the extra help, emphasise that something like an occasional home care visit would actually be beneficial for you, too.

Focus on the shared advantages of having an “extra pair of hands” available for times when you’re not around. Suggest that these services would reduce both your and their stress levels, and can also help extend their independence and delay, or possibly head off, them having to consider more drastic solutions such as a care home.

Be respectful

It’s common that as mental faculties decline we can sometimes shift to using a tone of voice and language that might be more appropriate to children, when speaking to older and elderly loved ones. Remember though that you’re having a conversation with an adult, not a child. Put yourself in their shoes and think how you would want to be addressed in this situation. Patronising speech will only put older adults on the defensive and could be felt to be disrespectful.

Get trusted advice and support

Perhaps it would help to get help from someone who’s opinion they respect. If they are going to a doctors or Hospital appointment try and gently bring up some concerns during the meeting or even see if you can get a more private meeting to discuss your concerns about things you have observed. A doctor who understands and shares your concerns will reinforce that accepting help at home is a crucial part of safely aging in place. Other sources of support in this decision might include a social worker or a respected friend. These individuals can serve as a neutral third party and more effectively present the benefits of hiring home care.

Hiring Home Care for Elderly Loved Ones: What’s Next?

Before you begin your search for a home care provider, it’s important to understand the different types of services that are available and determine which would be the best addition to your loved one’s care plan. A good place to start is the Homecare.co.uk website which lists local providers with reviews and ratings. You can find Caremark Basingstoke’s Care Provider page here

We have several articles that go in more depth to help you select a provider that fits your needs and budget. Assure your loved one that they will be able to participate in interviewing potential providers and deciding which company to hire. This involvement will help them retain a sense of control over their situation and feel more comfortable when the services actually begin.

Caring for aging adults will always pose challenges and tough choices regarding their safety and independence. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you to make confident caregiving decisions.

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