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5 Tips on Talking to Your Loved Ones About Home Care
You’ve noticed a decline in your loved one, and realize it is time for help at home, but how do you have that conversation? The conversation can be scary for your elderly loved one.  Fear of losing independence, worry of having strangers in the home, and feelings of denial or embarrassment about needing help make home care a very sensitive topic.  We share some tips on how to have the conversation.

1.     Listen and Reassure
Fear of losing independence, or the feeling of the decision is happening to them, without their consent, can make the conversation difficult and frustrating for seniors.  Make sure you take the time to truly listen to the concerns of your loved one.  If the concern is losing independence, then inform your loved one that the goal of having caregivers come into the home is to maintain independence, to allow your loved one to continue to live where they want to be—in their home. At Happier at Home, our caregivers like to keep our seniors independent and involved.  For example, if our clients are not able to go up and down the stairs to do laundry, but are still able to fold and put away the clothes, then our caregivers would ask them to participate in folding and putting away the clothes.

If the concern is regarding having a stranger in their home, seek out agencies who keep the same caregiver with the same client.  At Happier at Home, all of our caregivers go through phone screenings, in-person interviews, orientation, criminal background checks, drug screenings, DMV record checks, personal and professional reference checks, and are all insured and bonded. We also keep the same caregiver with the same client to allow our clients to develop a relationship, and get to know the person coming into their home.  This consistency takes the fear away of having someone different in the home each visit.

Reassure your loved one that the goal is to allow them to continue to live with dignity and respect, and that they will have a choice and say in the matter of how they will be treated, and what will be done in their home.

2.     Talk About the Benefits, Not the Limitations
Recommending home care is a sensitive topic, and can cause elderly to become defensive.  Focus on the benefits of having someone to help with household chores, shopping, and transportation. Explain that the goal is to keep your loved one at home longer—in the environment they wish to remain. Contrasting the benefits of homecare to the limitations within an assisted living facility or nursing home can help provide some perspective, and make your loved one feel like they have a choice and their concerns are being heard.

3.     Make it About Others
Sometimes seniors feel they are burdening their adult children or loved ones with organizing and paying for home care. But, making it about others’ concerns can help provide perspective.  Explaining to your parents or elderly loved ones that accepting home care would provide peace of mind for you, and allow you to focus on being their children, rather than their caretakers can help.  Explaining that home care services are a preventative measure, rather than reacting in the event of an accident or fall can reassure seniors and save their pride.

4.     Get Professional Advice
Bring in a home care agency to do an assessment and discuss the services with your loved one.  Happier at Home provides free in-home assessments.  We have a conversation with the senior, and a family member present.  This gives the senior ample opportunity to ask questions, voice concerns, and feel they are heard and have a voice and choice in the matter.  Our goal is to provide dignity, respect and independence to our clients, and the assessment is the first step in that process.

5.     Give it a Trial Period
Given the option of trying the service, with the opportunity to discontinue after a period of time can take the pressure off of the decision.  Often, if the right caregiver is paired with the right client, personalities match up, and within a week, seniors are not only accepting of the service, but they look forward to the visits with their caregiver.
Having the home care conversation can be difficult, but using these tips can help ease tensions, and maintain the goal of keeping your loved ones at home and independent.  We would be happy to discuss this topic with you further, please feel free to give us a call!
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