How to broach the subject of getting home care or visiting care for a loved one
At Good Oaks we understand that starting a conversation about care options for your loved one can be tough. Whether you are concerned about elderly parents and think they could do with some extra help and support, or you are a carer for a young person with complex disabilities, it can be a tough subject to talk about. We believe that everyone should be assisted to live as independently as possible in their own home for as long as possible – that’s why we do what we do. We believe in giving people the right to choose the best care option for them.
Let’s face it, no one likes to think of their parents or loved ones getting older and starting to struggle, but it is far better to talk about their preferences sooner rather than later. Then, if a crisis occurs, you and they will know what they would prefer to do.
Taking those first steps to talk about getting home care or visiting care can feel daunting, you don’t want to upset your loved one, but you feel their lives could benefit from assistance. So, how best to do it and keep an open discussion going? Below you will find some useful information and resources to help you make the process as easy for everyone as possible.
Why might you need to talk to a loved one about the option of home care or visiting care?
You may have noticed your loved one is starting to struggle with things like housework, gardening or laundry – perhaps they have always been very house-proud, but it is getting harder to do as they get older.
Perhaps they are starting to have mobility issues and are struggling to get out like they did before.
Perhaps health conditions have made them lose confidence in their driving ability.
Perhaps they aren’t getting out to the shops as much or struggling to make food.
Perhaps you have noticed they have started to be more forgetful and often miss medication or appointments.
There are a huge number of factors that could lead you to this conversation about care, but the important thing is to be honest, kind and helpful.
When is the right time to bring up the subject of home care or visiting care?
It is important to make sure you have the right time to talk about this. Don’t try and discuss the option of home or visiting care when your loved one is in a rush or is stressed. Make time to sit down with them somewhere comfortable, and when you both have time and space to really listen to each other and think about the best options going forward.
If you start the conversation but realise it’s the wrong time, wait for another day. It can be tempting to dive into a conversation you have been thinking about for a while but remember this may be a new concept to your loved one and may take them time to think about and process.
How to make sure the conversation is successful
Start by reassuring your loved one and let them know this is a discussion – you want to hear how they feel about the idea.
It may be that they have been struggling and would like help, so you could start by asking them if there are things in their day-to-day life that could be improved. For example, help with the ironing or gardening. Remember, this is a conversation about how you can both work together to create the best life possible for your loved one.
Remember your loved one may struggle with the idea of care, especially if they are very independent. That’s ok. It’s totally understandable. Explain why you believe care at home may benefit them – for example, keeping their independence for as long as possible in their home which they love.
Be kind and keep the conversation focussed on them and how they feel – they may need time to think about how they feel about what you have said. You may need to arrange another time where you can both sit down and discuss it again once they have had time to think.
What to do if the conversation about home care goes well
Give them some time to think about what you have discussed and arrange a time to talk again later.
Together, research your care options and start to think about what would be best – visiting care for help with laundry or gardening or help with waking up and dressing. Perhaps you both agree a spot of respite care would be beneficial to you both.
Research care companies in your area and look at testimonials and reviews.
Talk about finances and how you intend to pay for care – this could be through assistance from local Government or private funds etc.
Discuss power of attorney and what your loved ones wishes are for the future.
Talk to different care companies and authorities – many will offer free calls to discuss how they can help.
What to do if the conversation about home care goes badly
Remember talking about needs and care is an ongoing process, and it will likely take more than one conversation.
Organise a time to talk in a neutral space and one to one.
Listen to your loved one – ask them how they are feeling and what they would like to do moving forward.
Tell them your concerns and reassure them.
Agree a time to relook at the situation.
How can Good Oaks help my loved one?
We work with you, your loved one, their GP and wider care team to create a bespoke care plan to help them stay in the comfort of their home for as long as possible.