In the United States, the chances of a person living alone increases with age. Almost half of women living alone are at least 75 years of age. By 2030, adults over the age of 60 will make up 20% of the U.S population.
If you have concerns about an aging loved one, you’ve probably considered home assistance. While there are nursing homes, there are other home care options out there.
Talking with an elderly loved one about their living situation is never easy. Often times, it’s hard to break it to someone that they are no longer able to live independently. It’s also hard for many individuals to accept that they’ve lost some of their independence due to old age.
With the right preparation, you can make the conversation go as smoothly as possible. In this article, we’ll help you plan to discuss home care options with your elderly loved one.
1. Don’t Be the Parent
Young or old, nobody likes being told what to do. For an older person, they can feel offended when somebody younger tries to tell them what’s best.
Some individuals may already be aware that they are no longer as independent as they once were. Others may not yet be aware. In either case, you have to talk to your aging parents or grandparents as an equal.
Before mentioning home care options, warm them up to the conversation. Express your concerns in an honest, open, yet gentle manner.
Let them feel like they can speak. By doing so, you’ll give them the power to speak and the sense that they’re in control.
2. Be Gentle, Yet Matter-of-Fact
The way you convey yourself will make the conversation more constructive. You don’t give off the sense that you’re condescending or patronizing them.
As the old saying goes, “Treat others how you want to be treated.” By speaking to your loved one in a civil manner, they’ll reciprocate with more conversation.
Be direct with them in a way that doesn’t offend or intimidate them. Speaking softly and using positive body language can help.
3. Avoid Jumping Right into Home Care Options
“We need to talk about getting you help.”
“You need to be in a nursing home.”
“You need help around the house.”
These are all things you should avoid saying when talking about home care options.
Rather than stating your concerns, you want to warm up your relative to the conversation. Conversation can always begin when your relative is having a difficult moment.
Let’s say they’re struggling to climb up the stairs, for example. As they struggle, you can approach them and ask them if they’d like help.
After assisting them, keep the conversation going. We’ll explore another good method next.
4. Recall Examples & Incidents
To help frame your conversation, it’s good to recall specific incidents. This way, your aging relative can better understand your concerns.
There is a way to be honest with your elderly loved ones without sugarcoating the truth. By recalling specific incidents, your relative won’t have much room to argue with you.
Rather than patronize them, express your concern. Tell them that you’re worried about something happening or about them getting hurt.
Then, pivot the conversation toward home care options. Explain to them how in-home assistance could help them around the house. That way, they don’t have to exert themselves more than they need to.
5. The Right Environment
Where you have the conversation about home care options matters just as much as what you talk about. You want your relative to feel safe and comfortable. Because the more comfortable they feel, the more willing they will be to talk.
Try to avoid starting the conversation in a public setting near lots of people. Doing so may make them feel embarrassed.
If you can, try to have the discussion with them in their home. This will make it easier to point out examples of them needing help. They will also feel more comfortable in their own home.
6. Highlight the Benefits
The best way to have the conversation about home assistance is to know about each option. This will require research on your part, and it’s crucial to having the conversation.
Many people have misconceptions about home assistance. It’s likely that your elderly loved one may go on the defensive. By being able to thoroughly explain their options, you’ll create a better offense.
They need to understand that home assistance is not like having a babysitter. It’s more like having an extra set of hands to help with things around the house. A caregiver can also help with cooking, grocery shopping, and driving them around.
By showing them how it helps other people, they’ll be more willing to consider it for themselves.
7. Be Patient
You may not be able to convince someone that they need home assistance in a single conversation. It may take several attempts until they’re willing to hear you out.
It may also take the help of the professionals and trial runs to convince them. No matter how stubborn your relative is, it’s important to keep your composure and be patient.
You want each conversation to be as constructive as possible. Avoid raising your voice to ultimately avoid arguments. In their own time, your relative will warm up to the idea.
Listening seems obvious enough. But it can truly go a long way when having the difficult conversation with your aging relative.
You want them to feel like they’re listened to. Not only will this give them some sense of control. It will also make them feel more comfortable talking with you.
Don’t put down any of their questions. If you don’t know the answer to something, show them that you’re putting in the effort to find out. If they express concerns, let them know that you understand and that you want to help in any way possible.
Exploring Home Care Options
Seeing your parent, grandparent, or aging relative is never easy. It’s also not easy for them. All this can only complicate the conversation about home assistance.
By following these 8 tips, you can make the conversation about home assistance easier. But before starting the conversation, it’s good to talk to the experts about your options.
Assistance in Home Care has helped over 1,200 clients in southern California. For more information on how we can assist you, contact us today!