The Home Care Conversation
Sometimes the more frequently we see or talk to our parents, the more difficult it is to engage them about some type of Home Care assistance. Taking a while to notice the need for assistance, and then actually broaching a conversation about it can be challenging. After all, you are not in the habit of asking your dad if he has eaten, or checking to see if your mom turned off the stove.
Most often our parents are the people who have been the strong ones, the ones giving advice, and the ones who have had all the answers. It doesn’t occur to us to ask if they paid the utility bill this month or if they got lost on their drive back from the grocery store they’ve been going to for 57 years. But, there may come a day when you notice that your loved one “just isn’t his or herself.”
Here are a few things to look for when you visit or have a phone call with your loved one. Are they …
- skipping or forgetting meals?
- bathing regularly?
- getting themselves dressed appropriately every day?
- having increased accidents or falling?
- not attending their usual church group or hair appointment (withdrawing)?
- forgetting how to operate appliances?
- misplacing items more than usual?
Observe your loved one’s behavior over several weeks (unless they have had an accident or medical emergency), because we can all have an off day, forget things, or feel low. Talk to other family members and friends and ask what repeated behaviors they have noticed in your loved one that would signal alarm.
If the indicators are there on a regular basis, it may be time to consider bringing in Home Care for your loved one. Having “that talk” with your parent(s) about the decision to start Home Care doesn’t have to be uncomfortable for either of you.
The first thing to remember before you bring up the idea of Home Care is that your loved one may feel resentful that you are questioning their competence. Oftentimes they have not noticed or do not want to accept that they are forgetting things or are not as nimble as they once were. They may also fear that your true motives are to “put them in a home” and forget about them, so they may misrepresent their actual abilities and challenges. They may outright deny any problems if you mention the unpaid bills and the messy house. Or they may quite simply be afraid that they are losing control of their lives and getting older, and are embarrassed to acknowledge that they need help.
This is not the time to invite the whole family over for an intervention. None of us want to feel ganged up on. Start slowly and introduce the idea of Home Care over several conversations, concentrating on the positive. Here are some talking points to make the conversation easier and more appealing:
- You deserve some help. Home Care assistance can take away some of the burden. Our loved ones have spent their lives helping others; it’s their turn to enjoy a little self-care which will leave time for more enjoyable activities, like zooming with the grandkids instead of doing the dishes or laundry.
- Have someone drive you. No more looking for a parking space or searching for the car in a garage. Getting dropped off at the door ensures arriving on time and not having to walk in the rain. This is especially appealing for those who do not like to drive at night or in the rain or snow.
- Address financial concerns. Home Care is less of a financial burden than moving into an assisted living facility even if full-time care is needed. Agencies like Avila Home Care require no long-term contract and visits can be as short as 2 hours to 24/7 care if needed, with very flexible schedules that suit client needs.
- Life can get easier if someone else does the shopping or puts the groceries away and cooks meals.
- “Do it for me, Mom.” Play on those mother’s heartstrings. “I worry. I want the best for you. It will make me feel better.”
- How about a trial run? Home Care can be arranged on a short-term basis. This gives your loved one an opportunity to get accustomed to having someone in their home, and may convince them that it’s nice having help. Avila Home Care can come for a free in-home assessment, and visits can be scheduled with no commitment.
It’s important that your loved one feels like part of the decision-making process. Making our own decisions is part of the independence we all want to maintain. Ageinplace.org calls Home Care a “lifestyle option” and offers a guide for your loved ones to assess their own needs and make their own plan.
A professional Caregiver provides peace of mind for the whole family by:
- monitoring safety
- being a companion
- helping with socialization and staying active
- being on-site in case of an accident or medical emergency
- supervising daily medication and dosage
- helping with bathing and getting dressed, regular hygiene
- running errands, and helping with cooking and cleaning
Avila Home Care is here to help in several ways. Our Home Care Companions enjoy talking with our clients about the topics that interest them and helping with meal preparation and light cleaning. Our personal care includes bathing and dressing, and medication reminders. And our Caregivers can drive your loved one to doctors’ appointments, buy groceries or visit with friends.
Avila Home Care can provide care for your loved one in whatever setting they call home- whether in their own house or apartment, an assisted living environment, a nursing home, or in the home of a friend or family member.
We all want to thrive in the home we love-It brings comfort and is better for mental health as well. According to Advancing Smartly, the mental health benefits of remaining in one’s own home, or aging in place, are numerous and profound. “Adults aging in place exhibited better levels of cognition, better functioning in daily living activities, decreased levels of depression, and lower levels of incontinence compared to older adults aging in nursing home settings.”
We’d love to meet you and find out more about your family’s needs. Call us today at 410-826-6100 for a free in-home assessment by one of Avila’s Registered Nurses.
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