Sitting down with an elderly loved one to tell them they need help can be a daunting task. Many families delay or avoid these conversations altogether, but it’s a discussion that must be had before a serious health crisis strikes. Have the conversation as soon as you notice your aging family member struggling, and you’ll be happy you did. Follow these six tips for talking about senior care.
- Compile a List of Concerns
Is their house a mess? Have they recently taken a fall? Do they keep forgetting to take their medication? These are common issues that arise for the elderly. Write down all the issues that are cause for concern to help you commit them to memory.
- Know Your Options
Educate yourself on the resources available to your loved one as much as possible. This way, you and your aging family member know exactly what can be done to improve the quality of their life going forward. Explore respite care, assisted living communities, senior housing, transportation, veterans benefits, and Medicaid or Medicare eligibility.
- Talk Face-to-Face
When it’s time to talk, do it in person in a relaxed, distraction-free environment. Be sure to block off a few hours of time so you don’t feel rushed. When you bring up your concerns, try to stay empathetic and calm. Keep in mind that this may not be a one-time conversation. It could take several discussions to get on the same page with your loved one. Ask open-ended questions to start, such as:
- Do you feel stressed about keeping the house clean?
- Is driving something you still feel safe doing?
- Would you be happier if you got to socialize with folks your age?
- Are you having a hard time paying the bills?
- Let Them Express Their Feelings
Although it’s hard on adult children, it’s not easy to be on the receiving end of a conversation about senior care, either. Remember that your loved one may be embarrassed, defensive, or in denial about the level of help they need. Listen. Let them share their own concerns and explain what kind of lifestyle they want to maintain. This way, you can ensure you’ll be on the same page about their long-term care plan.
- Reinstate Your Desire To Help
It’s important for your aging loved one to understand that you’re on their side. Tell them that as their advocate, you will help them make the right decisions about the care they need with their consent.
- Make a Game Plan
Create an outline of what services your loved one is eligible for and review their finances to see what they can afford. Then you can start to gather a list of phone numbers to get services set up. In the event of an emergency, you must have a plan that is mutually agreed upon by you and your family members.
Gallagher Home Care serves across 8 Pennsylvania counties, providing house-keeping, home safety monitoring, and companion care to seniors. Our Medicare-certified agency even provides free in-home evaluations for new families, so we can customize a plan to your loved one. Call us at (412) 453-8859 to learn more!