How to talk about home care with your family

How to talk about home care with your family

How to talk about home care with your family

Having a conversation with your family about getting extra support is never easy.

It is incredibly common for parents or loved ones to be resistant to getting extra support. But, it’s always better to start the conversation about needing home care earlier rather than later - whether that’s a conversation with your children or with your parents.

Signs you may need help

The signs that people need extra support at home are common, but may not always be easy to identify. You may need to point out things that aren’t as normal as they should be.

Some signs of needing extra support include:

  • The laundry basket is overflowing
  • The gardening is getting out of hand
  • Forgetting about dates and appointments
  • You notice unusual bruising or scratches (possibly from falls)
  • Asking for more help than usual

Reasons we hide the truth

It’s also important to note that when your loved ones are scared, they are likely to hide things from you such as falls etc.

  1. We don’t want to feel like a burden
  2. We don’t want to lose our independence
  3. We may feel shame or embarrassment

These are all perfectly reasonable reasons why we wouldn’t be honest about our health or mobility. 

But the truth is, hiding them doesn’t help. In fact, it can make things much worse and ending up in hospital because of a fall or another complication could significantly cut time spent at home and scare loved ones. Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to how we are coping at home.

Common objections

At this point, if you’ve identified problems, it’s easy for loved ones to go into denial when first approached about them.

“You’re here to help me, I’ll be ok.” or “It’s not that bad.”

Remember: When you feel like you’re not the same person you used to be, there’s an element of grief that comes with that. This is hard to deal with and so being empathetic and showing understanding is incredibly important. How would you like to be treated should you be in that position?

an aged care worker chatting with a resident in the garden

Life without help

No-one wants to admit they need help, which can make suggesting the idea of home care extra tricky.

This is where we can’t always give the best advice. How you approach this is different for everyone.

But rather than suggesting home care straight away, you can help your loved ones identify the problem that without the help they get now, would they be able to live the same life?

If I wasn’t always here, how would you get groceries from the store?

If something happened to me could you cope on your own?

How would you get your Friday coffee if I wasn’t here to take you?

Could you bend down to do the gardening if I wasn’t here?

Approaching the conversation about home care

But how do you suggest that your parents may need a little extra help around the home?

You can begin with a question (not an assumption). ‘We feel that you’d like to stay at home, but we’d really love to know what your thoughts are.’ They may have been thinking about home care themselves - try not to anticipate how they feel about home care.

If they have been thinking about it or are of the opinion they would like to stay living at home for longer - explain that having some extra help around the house will help them to maintain their independence and keep them in their home longer. 

Provide examples of how home care can help: 

  • Being driven to the shops or appointments
  • Laundry or personal care
  • Garden maintenance
  • Preparing meals and doing the dishes
  • Cleaning the house

Home care can help

Reinforce that home care is about them and how it can assist them - make sure you don’t make it about you.

If your parents are concerned about having someone they don’t know in their home you can offer to organise a meeting beforehand with potential care staff so they know who will be visiting. 

Should they still be unsure - home care doesn’t have to be forever - a trial can be arranged to see if it does make their day-to-day lives easier.

Getting extra help

Caring for a loved one, even only occasionally, can be incredibly stressful.

We offer respite services that help give carers a break. For more information on respite near you, call us on 1800 778 767.

If you are struggling with care and need more immediate support or even just a little guidance, you can call:

  • Carer Gateway (a government funded carer support service) on 1800 422 737.
  • Lifeline (for emotional support and guidance) on 13 11 14.