Advice For Approaching Loved Ones In Need Of Home Care

Tyler Betz Tyler Betz

OCEAN CITY — With the holiday season upon us, we will have a chance to spend time with loved ones and catch up with family.
Visiting with parents, grandparents and other elderly family members over the holidays can sometimes leave us at a crossroads. For instance, mom or dad might not be in the same health condition as the last visit, whether in a physical or mental capacity.
Considering whether a loved one needs homecare can be mentally taxing and emotionally draining and should take a wide range of factors into account.
While some of the following warning signs might be common sense, considering and weighing each one accordingly is an important step towards making a potentially difficult decision.
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.
Physical limitations in general can hinder daily activities.
Loved ones of any age might be in need of homecare if they are undergoing rehabilitation.
Memory lapses can impede daily functions and can even put loved ones in danger.
If loved ones are having trouble preparing their own meals, homecare should be considered.
Loved ones that cannot maintain their lifestyles independently might be in need of assistance.
If a loved one cannot make it through the night unattended, caregiver assistance is necessary.
Loved ones that 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.
Once you’ve taken these warning signs into consideration, the next step can be even more difficult. Approaching a loved one about the possibility of home care is a touchy subject, one wrought with emotion that forces loved ones to confront their own age-related shortcomings. Remember to broach the subject with sensitivity and care. Your loved ones must feel that their opinions are being considered if their mental capabilities are up to the task.
A few tips to consider when discussing the option of home care with your loved ones include focusing on your loved one during discussions and keep him or her involved; voicing your opinions using “I” statements; defining a clear topic for each discussion; being assertive but respectful; keeping in mind that it may take some time and multiple conversations to come to a consensus; and not trying to accomplish too much in one discussion.
Consider setting up a family meeting to discuss your concerns, involving everyone that the decision might affect directly. Keep in mind at all times that the decision ultimately belongs to your loved one, and he or she should be a central part of every discussion. Family meetings should be supportive, and everyone who takes part must treat the loved one who needs assistance and his or her opinion with the utmost respect.
When meeting with resistance, don’t push loved ones into meetings or situations that they are uncomfortable with.
Continued resistance requires more assertiveness on your part, but make sure to communicate to your loved ones that you want to hold the meeting because you care about them and are concerned about their well-being.
Dealing with resistance is touchy. While your concerns might be significant, listen to your loved one’s concerns as well. If you’re planning a family meeting, meet with the rest of the family beforehand so you can align your thoughts and concerns.
Following the initial discussion with your loved one, it can help to gently suggest that he or she makes an appointment with a physician (or geriatric psychologist) for a thorough evaluation. A professional evaluation might be the deciding factor for your loved one. Eventually, most elderly people realize they can’t care for themselves as well as they used to be able to. Seeing a doctor and getting a professional opinion could potentially make the decision easier for your loved one.
Remember to keep all discussions with your loved one positive. If they have the mental capacity to make the decision on their own, then they must do so.
It is your responsibility to demonstrate your concern first and foremost, not to make decisions for them.
(The writer is the director of Visiting Angels of Berlin/Eastern Shore. He may be reached via 443-513-4149 or tbetz@visitingangels.com

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