Talking to parents about home care sooner rather than later can be a good step to take, early intervention can mean you avoid more serious issues…
It can be difficult talking to parents about home care, especially if they are the fiercely independent type, or still feel like an 18 year old inside. Here are some tips on how to broach the subject with sensitivity, respect and compassion.
You may have noticed signs that your elderly parents need help, or just want them to take it easier.
It’s easy to turn into the parent of your elderly parents and this can create barriers in your relationship with them.
For a moment, put yourself into their shoes. There are many changes that happen to our body as we get older; our muscles, joints and bones change significantly:
- Bone mass density and calcium levels are lower so a fall is more likely to break a bone
- The joints become stiffer, and less flexible
- Loss of cartilage means it is more difficult to move quickly
- Muscle tissue is not as flexible and may also harden with age
The most difficult part is that inside their head they probably still feel like their 21!
It’s hard to start letting go of habits and routines, and it is harder to admit to yourself that you may not be able to cope with as much as you once could. There may also be a fear that they’ll end up in a care home, many people don’t realise they have the option of receiving home care in their own home.
It’s time to have that discussion…
Talking to parents about home care and helping them to understand that they need to change, and adapt to being older needs to be approached with sensitivity and compassion. We all want to maintain our independence and we all have pride.
It is difficult, but if you start with sitting your elderly parent down, making sure they are comfortable, and share your concerns with them as opposed to telling them what they should be doing, or how they should be doing things is a good start. Make sure this is a good quiet time to talk, turn off the TV, mobile, and any other distractions then prepare to remain calm and to listen to what they have to say.
Make an effort to understand what they want and need and let them know that you have heard, and that you understand. This way, you can get a better insight into their world, and come up with solutions together whilst retaining their pride and dignity.
Try some of these tips…
Tip 1 – Reassure
Fear of losing independence, dignity, financial worries, and going into a home will probably be foremost on their mind. If they have let you know this, reassure them that you have no intention of letting anything like that happen and that you want to help them retain independence, and stay at home. You can explain that care workers will never do everything for them, they will be enabling independence. Home care is also about preserving dignity and having respect for people. Your parent will still have their say in how they live their life, and how they wish to be treated.
Explain that they can achieve a better quality of life by having the time to do more of the things they like.
Tip 2 – Make it about others
You can also mention that you worry about them being safe and you would feel so much happier if you knew someone was helping out with things. What if they had a fall because they’re trying to do too much?
If you have both parents still and they live together, mention that it will mean they can have more quality time together. Or that it will help their spouse, they might be more willing to do it for the sake of the other, although it will help both of them.
If you are the main carer for your parent then you’ll need to take a break or employ a home care provider to lighten the work for you regularly. It’s important for you to have your own time too.
Tip 3 – Get professional advice and trial a home care service
You can ask a local home care provider to come and meet with you as a family, talk through options and get the reassurance and guidance that you need together.
We can help your elderly parents remain as independent as possible – we won’t just step in and take over – we involve everyone in the family who wants to be involved, taking great care to respect choice, and dignity whilst delivering the best care and support.
You’re welcome to call us for a chat and help with this important transition in your elderly parents’ life.
Article by CarewatchCare