05 Oct Five ways to ease the ‘care conversation’
Discussing the topic of using outside care can often be a difficult conversation to have with your parents or a loved one, but it’s an incredibly important one.
That’s because often there is no such thing as too early when it comes to planning for what you may do when your family member needs extra assistance.
Here are five points, based on our experience, to help you judge when the time is right to have a chat about getting care.
1. Don’t put it off until it’s too late
Waiting until your parent or loved one is unable to think about their future is too late. Instead, find a time when you are not going to be disrupted and sit down with them to chat about what they want as they get older.
A good way to look at this is as though it is a piece of ‘life admin’ that needs to be addressed – like opening a bank account or changing your electricity supplier. For example, you could discuss it with them when they are drawing up their will. Knowing what they’d like and, more importantly, what they don’t want, can help with decisions you make later.
2. Don’t make promises you can’t keep
Making a promise to keep your parents in their own home may become a difficult one to keep. And feeling like you’ve failed to keep up your end of the bargain will just add more stress to decisions.
Instead, think logically. Draw up a plan of their desires and tell them you’ll do your best to see they are met. After all,situations can change dramatically and suddenly.
3. Check in at big milestones
Each time your loved one’s life changes, you need to re-examine what their needs are.
If their partner dies or they are diagnosed with a debilitating illness, think about what could make their life easier. It may be that something simple like having a meal delivered or having a cleaner visit is sufficient, or perhaps they need to move into some form of residential aged care.
Make sure these milestones don’t slip by without another chat.
4. Play detective for their benefit
You are probably the person who knows them best so you should be able to notice when things are changing. Is their home getting messier each time you visit? Is their fridge always empty and they are losing weight? Do you notice them in the same clothes all the time and see they are not doing their washing as often as they used to?
These are all signs that your loved ones might need a little more help. Don’t feel bad – this isn’t snooping, it’s just using your observation skills to make sure that your relative is healthy and safe.
5. Do the research for them
Often people will refuse help because they think it will be too expensive.
While there are many free services, there are also services that come at a cost and for those coping on a small pensionthis can be a little daunting. Instead of letting them dismiss the idea, research the cost and show them how they could afford it. They may change their minds if you can show that it’s feasible and within their means.