Caring for Your Parents

When loved ones need home care.

Visiting with parents, grandparents and other elderly loved ones can leave us at a crossroads. Whether in a physical or mental capacity, Grandma might not be in the same health condition as the last visit. Are you considering if a loved one needs home care? While the process can be mentally taxing and emotionally draining, it should take a wide range of factors into account.

Some of the warning signs that a loved one needs home care might be apparent. However, contemplating each one is an important step in making the decision to have an elderly parent move into your home or to a nursing home. Use the following pointers to assess the situation and best care for the people you love.

  • Whenever a loved one poses a threat to his or her own well-being, seek immediate care options.
  • A recent hospital discharge can make it difficult for a loved one to undertake his or her usual daily routine.
  • It is a warning sign if physical limitations hinder daily activities.
  • Loved ones of any age might be in need of home care if they are undergoing rehabilitation.
  • Memory lapses can impede daily functions and put loved ones in danger.
  • If loved ones are having trouble preparing their own meals, home care should be considered.
  • Loved ones who cannot independently maintain their lifestyles might be in need of assistance.
  • If a loved one cannot make it through the night unattended, caregiver assistance is necessary.
  • Loved ones who overburden your personal schedule are most likely in need of full-time care.
  • When you’ve exhausted your own caregiving efforts, it might be time to seek a professional caregiver.

After considering these truths and warning signs, the next step can be even more difficult. Remember that approaching a loved one about home care is a touchy subject. It forces loved ones to confront age-related shortcomings. Broach the subject with sensitivity. If they can understand the situation, grandparents must feel that their opinions are being heard and their needs are being met.

Here tips to for discussing the option of home care with your loved ones.

  • Focus on your loved one during discussions and keep the person involved.
  • Voice your opinions using “I” statements.
  • Define a clear topic for each discussion.
  • Be assertive but respectful.
  • Keep in mind that it may take time and multiple conversations to come to a consensus.
  • Don’t blame others or use “You” statements.
  • Don’t try to accomplish too much in one discussion.

Set up a family meeting to discuss your concerns, involving everyone whom the decision might directly affect. The decision about where your loved one should live ultimately belongs to the actual person, and he or she should be a central part of every related conversation. Also, family meetings should be supportive, and everyone participating must treat the loved one who needs assistance with the utmost respect.

If resistance arises, don’t push loved ones into meetings or situations that make them uncomfortable. But, continued resistance requires more assertiveness on your part. Do communicate to your loved ones that you want to hold the meeting because you care about them and are concerned about their well-being.

While your concerns might be significant, listen to your loved one’s concerns, too. If you’re planning a family discussion, meet with the rest of the family beforehand so you can align your thoughts and the prevalent issues with how to approach the loved one.

After the initial discussion with your loved one, it can help to gently suggest that he or she make an appointment with a physician or geriatric psychologist for a thorough evaluation. A professional evaluation might be the deciding factor for where or how your loved one would be best cared for and most content. Most elderly people eventually realize they can’t care for themselves as well as they used to. Seeing a doctor and getting a professional opinion could make the decision easier for your loved one.

Remember to keep all discussions with your loved one positive. If the person has the mental capacity to independently make the decision, then that person must do so. It is your responsibility to demonstrate your concern, not to make decisions for your loved one.

Suggestions for Dealing With Resistance

  • Demonstrate why you believe your loved one’s health or safety is at risk, then continue the discussion.
  • Involve other people, like clergy members, physicians or a geriatric care manager, affording loved ones a second, less biased opinion.
  • Use community resources like Meals on Wheels or a free consultation with a home care agency to help your loved one ease into the home care process.