Communicating With Elderly Parents About Home Care

It’s often a difficult conversation to have with your aging parents: Talking about moving into a care home or receiving extra home care.

For many this feels like a loss of independence and freedom and it’s met with resistance and hesitation.

In this article, we’re going to discuss how to talk to your elderly parents about assisted living options.

Involve them in the decision-making process

Your parents guided your decision-making when you were young. Now it’s your turn to guide them, but not exclude them from decisions affecting their life. We’ve seen less success when the elderly are told they’re being put in a care home or going to have an in-home caregiver. They usually resist the change.

A great way to include them is to have them choose what support they want at home. For more capable individuals, this may consist of a check-in phone call from a nurse a few times a week to check in and chat, someone to accompany them grocery shopping, or a home care nurse stopping by the house once a week to help with weekly chores and medication dispensing.

Acknowledge their feelings

Talking about getting elder care can be emotional for you and your elderly parents. Focus on their feelings as much as possible, and share how it makes you feel.

For example, if you’re currently the primary caregiver for your elderly parents and need a break once and a while to care for your family or for self-care, tell them how that’s important to you.

For example, your elderly parents may express hesitation when you start talking to them about assisted living options. Tell them that you hear their concern and work with them to find small steps you can take together to make their lives easier without giving up their independence.

Discuss “what if’s”

Often, someone seeks in-home medical care to get the support they need and have reliable care when a family member, spouse or friend can’t provide it. Discuss some scenarios with your elderly parents so they can see the consequences of not getting help. These questions could include:

  • What if you fall down the stairs and no one is here to help you?
  • What if I break my arm and can’t be here to remind you to take your meds every morning?
  • What if you forget to take your medication?
  • What happens when I take the kids on vacation for a week, and no one is here to help you bathe?
  • What happens if no one is here to help you get on and off the toilet?

Do your best to discuss these scenarios without guilting them too much, but make them aware that the impacts of not getting extra care affect their wellbeing and yours.

Communicate with your elderly parents through ongoing discussion

You don’t have to sit down and decide the future of your elderly parents in one sitting. Unless there is an urgent medical need, make it a casual conversation. You could start bringing up the topic casually at dinners as you notice their mobility decreasing or they’re becoming more forgetful.

Share the benefits of getting in-home care. Talking about friends or family members who have received similar daily living help at home can make it more relatable. Be sure to only talk about those who are happy with their in-home care situation.

Don’t bring it up “intervention-style” where the extended family ambushes your elderly parents in their living room. The second they feel ganged up on by their friends and loved ones, they are more likely to resist.

You know your parents best, but this is likely a discussion to keep within the family, rather than having their friends present for these discussions, unless they’ve gone through a similar situation can help humanize the topic.

Keep an open mind

Going into these conversations, you likely already have an idea of what you expect the outcome to be. While that is important, be flexible and allow for a change in strategy or direction.

For example, you may have your heart set on moving your parents into the retirement care home near your house. However, your parents may express extreme anxiety about leaving their beloved home and neighbours. They may want to look into in-home care options instead. While this may not be as convenient for you, keep in mind their wishes, and entertain any options to see if that can work financially and pragmatically.

Do your research

Before broaching the topic with your elderly parents do your research first. Based on your needs assessment, look into options to get them the care they need. Then, you can look at what services and support are available, where this care can be provided (a clinic, in-home, care home), costs and commitments, and any other variables.

This way, you’re armed with brochures, websites, and responses to any objections or apprehensions your elderly parents may have.

Acknowledge their independence

Many perceive a loss of independence when they trust their health and daily living to another person, especially a non-family member. For many, this signals the last stage of their life journey. Do what you can to ease their mind by acknowledging how this can make them more independent.

Communicating with elderly parents about home care actually helps them keep much of their independence because they are supported to live safely at home. Yes, they have someone there supporting them with the day-to-day tasks they find difficult or cannot do, but they get to stay in their beloved home.

If your elderly parents express this concern, perhaps you can start slowly by having a home care worker visit them once or twice a week. You can then gradually increase the support as your parents develop a good relationship with the caregiver and are ready for more support to live their independent lives at home.

A personalized health care approach to home care

We know that no two people are alike. That’s why at Hero Home Care, every client gets a personalized health care plan based on what they need. We can help you have discussions with your elderly parents and can address their concerns directly.

Hiring an in-home caregiver for medical and domestic support can help your loved one keep much of their independence. Talk to us today about how Hero Home Care can be a trusted caregiver for your elderly parents.