Talking with Your Loved One About Caregiving
Talking to your aging loved one about long-term care needs can be one of the most challenging and uncomfortable conversations. It is important that you can communicate with your loved one openly and honestly, expressing your concerns for their well being and safety. It can be uncomfortable to express your concerns for your loved one, as they may see their situation differently from you. It is important to remember that they may be feeling scared, lonely and misunderstood during this time of uncertainty. Consider using one of these strategies while having this tough conversation with your loved one.
- Have backup that will be supportive of your stance. Your backup team may be relatives, friends or medical professionals. Having people in your corner when you go into this conversation will allow your loved one to know that not only is this a decision that is important to many people, but it is supported by them as well. This will hopefully make them realize that they have a lot of people that love them and want the best for them, which in this case is bringing in a caregiver to help around their home.
- Come into the conversation prepared and ready to give suggestions to your loved one. You do not want to start a conversation that you are not prepared to see to the finish line. Doing research, providing options and choices can allow the conversation to flow freely and give your loved one selections for their next steps. It is a good idea to print out information that your loved one will likely want to know, such as the company that you would like to bring in, the hours of care that is recommended by a medical professional and how they can contact them for more information.
- Know what matters to your loved one. If you believe that they are afraid that by having a caregiver, they will lose their sense of independence, remind them that they will be able to remain in their home and continue their life. Caregiving should be framed as supplemental help for your aging loved one, not the loss of freedom.
- Know when to give them space to think about the situation. Unless your loved one is in immediate danger, it is common for them to need some time to think about the situation. It is important to know when you may be overwhelming them with information, pressuring them and not giving them the chance to process the information. Allow them to take some time and space to find out what is best for them.
- Follow up. Often, preliminary conversations turn into giving someone time to think about the decision that they must make. It is important that if you give them space and time to think about next steps that you follow through with a second conversation. Avoid putting off the follow up, as it will often get placed on the back burner and will be forgotten.
We hope that these strategies help you have a productive, supportive and positive conversation with your loved one about bringing in a caregiver for them. With these tips, your family should be able to find the appropriate solution that is right for your aging loved one.