Discussing home care with your elderly relative

It can be tough to talk to an elderly relative about home care because a lot of the time they may still feel just as independent as they were when they were young. If you’ve noticed some signs that your relative might need assistance in their home, here is how to approach the subject with honesty, compassion and sensitivity.

Think about how they feel

Take a moment to think about how your relative may be feeling in their own head. It’s probably very difficult for them to admit that they are unable to cope with their daily routine as well as they once could and that they might need to let go of old routines. They also might be fearful of their health deteriorating or that they may end up in a residential home, so it’s important to let them know that this isn’t the approach you’re considering.

No one wants to lose their dignity or independence so rather than telling your elderly relative what they should and should not be doing, speak to them honestly and openly about your concerns. This should be a two-way conversation so you should remain calm and be prepared to listen to what they have to say, even if you don’t agree. Making an effort to show that you have understood their fears and concerns will be a huge benefit to the overall discussion.

Reassure them

Reassure them that you have no intention of letting their independence slip away and that you think it’s best if they stay at home and receive home care. Explain to them that home care for the elderly in their own home provides plenty of benefits such as letting them stick to their own daily routine in surroundings that they’re comfortable in. Home care is all about making sure that a person still has a say in how they live their life and a good agency will recognise and encourage this.

Make it about someone else

You might want to explain to your loved one that you’d feel much better if you knew that someone was taking the time to care for them the way they deserve to be cared for. This isn’t an opportunity to guilt-trip your relative rather than expressing your fear that they might injure themselves when they’re on their own. If you have elderly parents that still live together, explain that home care will give them a chance to spend more time together and if one is the main carer for the other, highlight how regular home help might ease the burden.

If you are currently the main carer for your elderly relative, there’s no harm in admitting that you’re finding it to be a strain on your mental or physical health because it’s important that you’re healthy too.

Seek professional advice

Contacting a local home care provider will give you a chance to ask as many questions as you need to determine whether this is the best option for your elderly relative. Most home care agencies will be happy to arrange a meeting with you and your relative to have an informal discussion about any concerns that they might have.

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