We hear it far too often. We meet the new client for the intake visit. The Nurse assesses, the care plan is set up, the caregiver is introduced and home care gets scheduled. Before the first visit the phone rings: “Dad is not ready to receive services”. Let´s wait for another week, month or until he signals readiness. Often that works out and eventually home care gets started later. But sometimes we get the message that Dad is in hospital, due to a fall accident. How sad! This is the wrong reason to start home care.
We all know people struggling with accepting help at home. The stress for the family can be even worse when there are concerns for their safety and they have witnessed potential dangerous situations or minor accidents in the past. It is tough for adult children in this situation because they are watching the living situation and health of their parents deteriorate and often feel completely helpless to change the outcome. At the same time we must empathize with the older adults who have cared for and raised their children and now keenly feel the tables turning. They often fight that change at every opportunity. Does any of this sound familiar? The time will come when they finally have to accept help. But the transition time bares huge risks and often determines if the years to come are golden or if they are shadowed and shortened by avoidable mishaps. Here are a few strategies you can try to help your loved ones accept needed support:
Break the ice by trying to have a relaxed conversation about elder care long before a health crisis comes. Look for opportunities to ask questions like, “Mom, where do you see yourself living when you get older?” or “How would you feel about having a housekeeper and someone to drive you so you can stay at home?” Talking early about it and raising the subject in regular intervals will give your loved ones time to think about it and get familiar with their upcoming support requirements. Perhaps you want to have a discussion with your parents about options such as staying at home using long-term care services or change into assisted living. In case you feel you don’t know enough about different options, their advantages and budget requirements, we can help with information and connect you with the right resources.
Ask The Right Questions
Crafting questions is important: “Dad, what’s it like to take care of Mom so much of the day?” is a much better way to communicate than the statement, “ Dad, we think you should get some help so you don’t have to care for mom 24 hours a day”.
The first question allows your dad to open up and share about how much work goes into daily living. He will give out a great deal of information about all the needs they have and also start to acknowledge how much work it is. The second statement is very direct and as a result it may risk argument and conflict. It is difficult to change someone’s mind, but asking questions helps them decide and open up to change their mind by themselves.
The Need For Home Care Is About You, Not Them
It can be really tough for parents to take help from their children. So rather than ask them to accept help, why not ask them to help you to worry less, by allowing you to get a caregiver to help them around the house. You can explain that you feel pressured to be with them a lot because you worry about their safety and the house. If they would have someone come in to help a few times a week it would take a weight off your shoulders. This simple shift can work wonders.
Involve Outsiders Early
In some cases it’s easier to talk to a professional rather than a family member. This is especially true when the issues to be discussed are personal in nature, such as having issues with personal hygiene, or admitting memory issues. Setting your family member up to speak to a family doctor, social worker, or consulting with our Registered Nurse can create the needed space to allow those sensitive discussions to take place.
Hopefully some of those strategies will help to accept home care services in time instead of being regretful after accidents have happened. But having a discussion is only the beginning. Next you have to successfully find the right caregiver and the right care plan, being a whole new challenge! Don´t worry, call the CAREmasters Team for advice, we are happy to support you 24/7/365!