Discussing care with your loved ones is a delicate subject and needs to be handled carefully. Nobody likes to be reminded that they are getting older, and admitting that we need help can be the hardest part of all. However, if you’ve started noticing signs that your loved one may not be coping as well as they used to, it’s only right that the subject of professional help is discussed openly and honestly.
Starting the discussion isn’t easy, particularly if your loved one is fiercely independent. Emotions can run high, and it can be tempting to avoid the conversation altogether, but this is only likely to make the situation worse. Here are some tips to help you get started in the most loving, supportive way possible.
Preparing to talk
Choose a time when your relative will be most responsive to a chat. Make sure they are comfortable and allow plenty of time; you don’t want the conversation to be interrupted because you have to rush to work or they have a visitor arrive.
It’s usually a good idea to talk in your relative’s home, as this is where they feel most comfortable. Try to limit the number of people involved, as descending on your loved one with all your siblings and spouses in tow is only going to make them panic. If you are a close family, it can be good to decide together if the time is right for the conversation, and who is best placed to initiate the chat.
Think about what you’re going to say, and approach the subject with tact and care. If you have specific concerns, or if the issue has been raised by healthcare professionals, now is the time to make sure you prepare all of the information you might need.
If the conversation is around the prospect of your relative moving into a care home, it’s a good idea to have brochures or leaflets handy, so that you can show your relative what their options are.