The following are some communication techniques for discussing the often difficult subject of care with your loved one to help introduce the conversation and address common challenges that arise.
Talk early on
This in some cases will sadly not be a possibility, but for those who see care on the horizon rather than an immediate necessity, be alert for opportunities to discuss their future plans or ideal set-up. For instance, present them with questions like: “Where would you like to be in 10 years?” or “ Would you be OK with a cleaner coming by twice a week for a few hours?” This is likely to act as a useful gauge as to what they would or wouldn’t be comfortable with.
Pinpoint key issues
If you sense resistance to having care introduced there’s likely to be a dominate reason and if you can figure out what this is you can attempt at least to remove this concern. Which in turn will make implementing the appropriate level of care easier if needed. Ask considered questions in order to discover their main worries surrounding care.
A third party
Ask a more removed third person be it a trusted doctor, nurse or community member to bring up with your loved one the possibility of potentially needing care. A third party bringing up the topic protects you both from any fall out and may well make the subject easier to air.
Patience and a little more patience
Lead the way with open communication, it’s essential that you give your loved one time to answer to help them feel in control while answering any question marks you have about the situation or times ahead.
Keep options for your loved one open, mainly allow them to be highly involved in their own care needs. For instance, ask them to choose what times they would prefer a potential carer to visit or be involved in the interviewing process.
Respect your own limits
You cannot be there 24 hours a day, you have to accept your own individual limitations in terms of caring for someone else. Sometimes you will have to say no, make other arrangements or call on another family member to help.
If there are too many small tasks to address or remember, best to draft a weekly list in order of priority. If other members of your family can help out, divvy up the task and make them each a list.
Less information is sometimes more beneficial
Perhaps in the case of your loved one, sharing less detail may help the situation, for instance saying “Next Tuesday someone will be here for an hour to clean the main rooms.” And leave it at that, occasionally less can be more.
If you have the opportunity to plan ahead, take it. You may find Signs that a person may need care helpful in this regard. If you feel care is needed in the times ahead for your loved one you could start slowly by introducing for the first months a coffee visit or assistance only with the food shopping. That way should the care level need to increase trust with familiar faces has been established, which will make the transition easier.
If you are looking for care, Care Sourcer’s free service offers a searchable directory of local care agencies. If you need care urgently, our team of care experts are also available by telephone to guide you through the process.