Talking with a family member about their need for home care can be awkward and uncomfortable. It’s hard to watch family members grow older and less able to take care of themselves, and it’s hard for them to admit that the tasks they once completed so effortlessly are now hurdles to get over each day.
But when you notice that your family member is not taking care of himself or herself, it may be time to take action. Here are some subtle hints that your family member could benefit from home care services:
- You notice piles of unopened mail on the counter
- Bills are not being paid on time
- Your family member is losing weight
- There are piles of dirty laundry, or the same clothes are being worn repeatedly
- Their home is not as clean or picked up as it once was
- You notice a change in hygiene
- Medicines are not being taken
All of us at Advanced Home Health Solutions feel it’s best that you have a conversation with your family member while he or she is fairly healthy, well before their health has deteriorated or there is a healthcare crisis. It’s a conversation that’s easier to have sooner rather than later.
Once you realize your family member could benefit from help in the home, how do you approach the topic?
Before you begin a conversation, take some time to research and organize your thoughts:
- Write down your concerns. You may not necessarily give your family member a letter, but sometimes writing down your thoughts helps you organize your concerns into understandable points. You could also make an outline, or jot down a list of bullet points to guide your conversation.
- Do some research. Surf the Internet and make a few phone calls to determine what agencies are out there that can help your family member.
- Discuss your concerns with a few other close relatives or friends, as appropriate. Get the opinions of others who are close to your family member to determine if they share your concern. Whether they are involved in your conversation with your family member is something you will have to determine. You’ll have to strike that delicate balance between showing your family member that a lot of people care, without making them feel ganged up on.
Then, once you are prepared to have the home care conversation, take the following steps:
- Schedule a time to talk. Tell your family member that you’d like to spend some time talking with them. Choose a time and location that is convenient for them.
- Express your concerns in a caring, non-threatening way. Don’t begin with a list of things that are not getting done. Instead, ask how they are feeling, and how they are keeping up with things. Make sure they know you are coming from a place of love and concern.
- Emphasize independence. Share what you have found in your initial research of home care, and how it allows them to live safely and more independently in their own home.
- Hear what your family member is saying. Ask questions, listen to their answers and let the conversation flow naturally.
- Offer to do more research together. If your family member seems open to the idea, offer to explore the options more deeply together. Accompany your family member to the doctor, initiate conversations with a social worker, or interview a home care agency. Make it a team effort, because unless there is a medical emergency, your family member is the ultimate decision maker.
- Suggest a small step. Your family member may be more open to home care if the process begins slowly. Suggest that they try having someone come over to clean the house twice a month. Then slowly build from there.
Talking to a family member about home care is evidence of your love and concern. Handled carefully, the conversation can pave the way to a stronger relationship between you, and a safer, more independent life for your family member.
Advanced Home Health Solutions provides home care and personal care services to seniors in and around Columbus, Ohio. We pride ourselves in being an extension of your family, providing care, comfort and support when you need it, where you need it. To learn more about our services, send us an email, visit our website, or contact us at 614-340-9541.