How to talk about aged care with a loved one
Right now, you may be noticing big changes in your ageing loved one’s health or ability to manage their home and normal routines. Perhaps they are getting frail, have had a major crisis, or seem very lonely and unhappy.
Whatever the issue, it’s clear they need more support. You might feel sad and scared to have to say to this once highly capable person; “I’m worried and I think you need help”.
1. Be informed
Before you sit down with your loved one to talk about your concerns for them, it’s vital you are equipped with information about their aged care options, including the benefits of in-home care.
Whether they need a few hours of domestic assistance each week or more intensive daily assistance , we can help you understand how KinCare’s services are able to be tailored to suit their unique needs and wants.
You can also visit myagedcare.gov.au to understand what funding they may be eligible for.
2. Involve your family and other key people
Family members can have very different expectations for how their parents will be cared for in old age. That’s why it is so important to include them in this journey, so you can get on the same page.
It’s possible you’ve already tried to talk to your loved one about their aged care options and met with resistance. If so, it can be helpful to enlist the support of other key people in their life who can give an unbiased view on whether they could use some help. This extra support might come from your family doctor or another health professional, a trusted neighbour or close friend.
3. Pick the right time and place
When you are informed with some options and have the backing of the family, you may be ready to talk to your loved one about your concerns.
So that they don’t feel distressed or rushed into a decision about their future care, it’s important to do it when you both have time to sit down for a cup of tea and a chat without being disturbed.
Be honest, but don’t overwhelm them with information. It can be good to focus on one issue, for example you might mention you’ve noticed they haven’t been taking their medication regularly – and leave mentioning you’ve noticed they haven’t been eating regular, nutritious meals for another time.
Don’t be discouraged if they don’t agree to use home care immediately – you might need to have a few chats like this.
4. Be supportive and focus on positives
Put yourself in your loved one’s shoes. As an older person, who has lived a full and independent life, accepting they now need help can be scary. Show them that their needs are a priority by being kind, asking what they want and actively listening.
Also, it’s a good idea to focus the discussion on what home care will mean for their future. Home care is designed to help people thrive in their homes – so you can talk about the incredible benefits to their lifestyle – less housework, getting out and about more, and the chance to refocus on much-loved hobbies.
5. Make them feel in control
When so much is changing, it is critical for your loved one to feel they are still in control of their life. Don’t accuse or judge your loved one, even if you feel worried and frustrated by their changing behaviours. Instead, focus on the issues that are concerning you, like signs of anxiety and depression.
Above all, make it clear that you are on your loved one’s side, that you will support them in every way you can to stay in their home – and that they are in the driver’s seat.
6. Plan ahead
One thing is clear; the earlier you notice signs a family member is struggling at home, the sooner you can take steps to help them improve their life. It is much better if your family member is still well enough to have a say on the aged care they will receive. Getting support from a home care team can also help your family prepare for what is to come as your family member continues to age. This is especially important if they have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s
Some conversation dos and don’ts
“I think you need to be in a nursing home.”
“I know you want to stay in your own home as you grow older. How can we make that happen?”
“You’re not coping.”
“I’m concerned about you.”
“This garden is much too big for you to look after.”
“How would you feel if you had some help each week to potter in the garden?
At KinCare, 25 devoted years helping older Australians live independently in their home means we can offer expert support to prepare your loved one for home care.
No matter what their needs, today you can take the first step to help your loved one – let’s work together to make a difference.