Starting the Home Care Conversation with a Senior Loved One

Interim HealthCare Blogs
Posted: 10/24/2017 10:35 AM by Interim HealthCare

It could occur gradually over a period of time, or it could come on very suddenly, but at some point, concerns arise for older family members who live alone. Changes in hygiene, appearance, the upkeep of the home, and cognitive or physical abilities can all serve as red flags that a senior may no longer be safe on his or her own.

Oftentimes, these red flags are noticed during the holiday season, as families spend extended time together. Mom forgets the ingredients to her famous buttermilk biscuits, and is unable to remember where she keeps her favorite baking pan. Her clothing is a bit disheveled – a far cry from her usual meticulous grooming. And there are stacks of unopened mail and bills covering the countertop.
The question then becomes how to best address and resolve these concerns – and how to broach what is often a very difficult subject with the senior: the need for assistance in the home.

At Interim HealthCare, we are familiar with the challenges associated with discussing the addition of home care to keep seniors safe. It’s important to bear in mind that it often takes more than one conversation before an older adult comes to a place of acceptance about the need for help at home. The following home care conversation tips can help:
  1. Start small. Rather than jumping in and listing all of the problems you’re noticing, which can be overwhelming and cause the senior to feel defensive, begin by explaining that it might be a good idea, after working so hard throughout his or her life, to indulge in some pampering – such as help with housework, laundry and meal preparation – allowing for more time to engage in favorite activities and pastimes.

  2. Encourage input. Be aware that bringing a caregiver into the home can result in feelings of loss of both control and independence. Empower the senior, as much as possible, to be involved in decisions about care, such as outlining the personality traits preferred in a caregiver, what kinds of tasks the person would and would not like assistance with, whether the senior would prefer to go on outings with the caregiver or allow the caregiver to run errands, etc.

  3. Make it about you. Parents always want what’s best for their children, and explaining to an elderly parent that bringing a caregiver into the home would alleviate stress for you and bring you peace of mind can often make a world of difference in how the senior perceives the situation.
It can also be helpful to have a trusted third party, such as a doctor, close friend, or leader of the senior’s religious organization be a part of the conversation. Interim HealthCare’s home care experts  are also skilled in helping seniors see the value in enlisting the help of a professional caregiver, and offer a free in-home consultation to help families determine best next steps. As a licensed home care agency in the state of New York, our registered nurses oversee our clients’ care as well as our caregiving team. To learn more, call us in Glens Falls (serving Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties) at (518) 798-6811 or in Albany (serving Albany, Schenectady and Rensselaer counties) at (518) 452-3655

Need Help at Home?

Send us your questions about home care or a specific request. We're here to help.