Do you think it is the right time to bring in home care to assist your loved one, but are anxious about starting the conversation with them about it? You aren’t alone. According to a 2015 article by Genworth, 57% of consumers have not talked to anyone about the potential need for long term care. It can certainly be daunting but the fact is putting it off can be extremely detrimental. You realize that planning ahead for the potential needs for your loved one is the best and right thing to do you are just not sure how to approach them.
Start the Conversation About Elder Care
Genworth suggests the following approaches for getting the conversation about elder care started:
- Be Open – Come out and tell them that you’d like to talk about these issues and ask if they would mind talking about them.
- Be Reflective – When you’re together, ask about the past, their childhood, and their parents. Learn about them. Then move on to the future. What do they want most? How do they perceive the future? What worries them?
- Establish a Goal – Outline what you would like to accomplish.
- Discuss Someone Else’s Situation – Chances are that you, your spouse or partner or your parents know someone who is already dealing with some aspect of aging or long term care. Talking what’s good or bad about their situation can be a useful launching point.
- Present a Story – Give them a clipping, or link to information about planning ahead, family conversations, long term care costs, and move forward from there.
- Ask for Advice – This is a great way to get the discussion rolling. Tell them that you’re starting a retirement account or preparing a will and ask for advice. Then ask how they planned ahead and if they feel fully prepared.
- Write – If you find the whole thing too daunting, write a letter or e-mail outlining your concerns and what you would like to discuss. This can be particularly helpful if you live far away and only have a weekend to have these talks. You can pave the way and get them to start thinking about it before you get together.
Plan Ahead and Move Forward
Once you have laid this ground work, you can move forward confidently knowing that you and your loved one are on that same page and you can start considering the best options for them without wondering if they will be open to the idea. This will make the transition to using elder home care much easier on your family. It is important to include your elder loved one in the process, rather than making decisions and plans without them. You will be much more likely to gain their trust and acceptance of assistance this way.
Always plan for the next step and ask for permission to do so. For example, “Mom, based on what we discussed today, I am going to start researching quality senior home care agencies in your area. Would that be okay with you?” This sets a clear expectation that you are moving forward in the plan and that you will be presenting next steps to them in the near future. It will also make it easier for you to bring it up again.
About the Author: Pam Reynolds, CMC is the President and co-owner of Allegiance Aging Care Services. Pam has spent almost fifteen years working in senior care including long term care facilities and home health care. Her higher education is in Social Work, and she has been credentialed as both a certified Geriatric Care Manager and Licensed Assisted Living Administrator. Read more about Pam and her team of Aging Care Professionals here.