As our parents get older, there are some unavoidable truths we as children have to accept: good health is finite, and our parents aren’t able to do all the things they used to do.
On one level, we’ve always known these facts. However, as our parents age, we’re unfortunately made to face them.
Aging doesn’t mean that their lives will be devoid of joy and happiness. In many ways, our vintage years are among the best times we will ever have. However, there will be a point when we notice our parents might need a little help with activities of daily living (ADLs), whether due to natural aging, mobility issues, or an Alzheimer’s disease or dementia diagnosis.
Examples of ADLs include bathing, dressing, brushing their teeth or hair, meal preparation, taking medications, and housekeeping. If you’ve noticed that your elderly loved one has slipped in these areas, it might be time to explore getting them in-home care to help protect their health and safety.
Starting the conversation about in-home care
There’s no question that one of the most challenging parts of the process is starting the conversation, especially if you’re faced with strong resistance to the idea of in-home care.
This reaction is perfectly normal. After all, your parents have been bathing and dressing independently for decades. It’s hard for someone to accept that they need help with these simple acts and that they’re slowly losing their independence.
However, the truth is that in-home care actually enhances their independence by enabling them to live independently in their home longer.
Here are some tips to help you start the conversation productively:
- Be open, honest, and prepared
Start the conversation by openly and honestly expressing your concerns. The older adult might be surprised or dismayed at what they’re hearing, but deep down inside, they appreciate your concerns.
Also, it’s essential to do your research on in-home eldercare agencies in your area. You can create a shortlist and interview a few prospects before starting the conversation with your older relative. Your loved one will likely have many questions, especially since someone new will be coming into their home. Be ready with lots of information to put their mind at ease. Again, they’ll appreciate the time and care you put into research.
- Show love and empathy
We can’t stress enough how important it is to approach this conversation from a place of love and empathy, avoiding saying things like “This is for your own good.” Taking a negative approach could devolve into an argument which will stall future productive conversations.
Instead, put yourself in their position. Imagine being told that you suddenly need help doing the everyday tasks you’ve always carried out with ease. How would you feel?
Needing help with ADLs is a life-changing realization that can be hard to accept for anyone. Remember to show love and empathy when approaching the subject of eldercare.
- Present options without deciding for them
You might be tempted to take the lead on this and start deciding which elder care agency to work with, which services to buy, and when to start care.
As well-intentioned as your efforts are, your older loved one might resist you taking over the decision-making. That’s because they don’t want to lose any more dependence than they are already. Presenting and discussing their options while letting them make the final choices will go a long way to helping them accept this change while preserving their sense of control.
- Make it about their needs
The conversation should always be focused on your loved one’s health and safety needs, not what’s more convenient or more manageable for you. Although eldercare makes aging at home easier while taking many caregiving duties away from the family, the priority is putting your parents’ interests first.
Discuss what’s most important to them to maintain an optimal quality of life. You can then explore which elder care services are available to help fulfil those needs. If they want to start small with only one service, such as housekeeping or meal preparation, go along with it. You can always add more services as your loved one’s comfort level improves.
- Give them enough time to decide
It’s understandable that you want to get the process moving forward as quickly as possible. However, chances are they might not want to make a decision after the first conversation. Avoid the temptation to get impatient or frustrated. Give them time to process these changes.
Also, don’t forget that they might be confused, forgetful, or indecisive due to the physical and mental changes that occur naturally as one ages. Keep the decision-making at their pace to keep the discussions productive and preserve their feeling of control.
- Be realistic about costs
Talking about finances might be tricky, but your loved one’s budget needs to be considered so you can develop their care plan accordingly. The eldercare agency should be able to help put tighter, comprehensive strategy that meets your budget as well.
Also, be sure to include a plan for additional care funding as your loved one’s future care needs change.
Preparing yourself for change
Although the caregiver will be involved in your parent’s life, that’s no reason for you to disappear. You can still be involved with their care plan and participate in caring for your loved one as much as you’d like to.
Most of all, understand that what you’re doing is out of love. You didn’t fail your parents by not being able to care for them yourself. Caregiving is a big job that takes much time from your own career, family, and social pursuits. By hiring an eldercare professional, you’ll be able to spend more quality time with your parents instead of carrying out their everyday tasks.
In other words, let the caregiver provide the care, while you provide the love that comes with being a wonderful child.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia support in Etobicoke, Mississauga, and Brampton
When it’s time to seek eldercare options for a loved family member or friend, give CareHop a call. Our team specializes in ensuring that all of your loved one’s needs are met, including homemaking and meal preparation, personal care, activities and casual companionship, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care, and much more.
For more information about our eldercare services, please feel free to contact us anytime. We’d love to discuss how our approach to quality elder care can support your loved one and family.