Breaking the News: Telling a Loved One They Need Care

How do you talk to a relative about getting help?

Growing old is something that happens to us all. We all want the best for our loved ones but ensuring that they are well cared for as they get older can be a challenge, especially when you’re balancing work and home life with providing the level of care or help they need. Sometimes we need a little support.

Your loved one may be struggling to carry out some of the everyday tasks that we take for granted, they may be struggling with declining health, recovering from a stroke or may have just come out of hospital and need a little care that you and your family just aren’t able to handle on your own.

Although having the conversation with a parent or older relative can seem like a hard topic to broach, especially as many people are independent and don’t want to ask for help, it’s important to discuss in order to secure the best possible care to meet their changing needs with both dignity and respect. In fact this is something that we have often considered and we wanted to distil the advice we have been given and the advice we give to others when asked.

Every situation is unique and it is important to consider but the below tips can help as a starting point to initiate the conversation.

Do your research. Find what the options for care are to help determine what would best suit your relative and their needs. There are a number of levels of care available and an assessment for a live-in care or resident care provider can help you make the right choice. For many people, the option of being able to remain in their own home is preferable to having to leave their familiar surroundings and neighbourhood.

Have a family get together. Go out for lunch and make it a family occasion or have a chat over a cup of tea – whatever works best for your family. Be sensitive in your approach as it can be a difficult subject for everyone involved.

Decide as a family how to broach itThink about how your parent might feel and what your responses should be – come armed with solutions. If you know that your parent won’t want to leave their home and familiar environment then research care options that would suit them. If it is your parent you are worried about then it is good to have a chat with your siblings and see what they think. It is likely that everyone has been worrying about the same thing and said nothing because they didn’t want to say the wrong thing.

Put yourself in their shoes. Think about how you would feel if you were the one being told you needed care and structure the conversation with this in mind.

Start with difficulties they are having. Start by discussing the things they are finding difficult and then suggest that they may benefit from some assistance.

Clearly explain the different options. It is not necessarily a case of sending your loved one to live in a care home. It may be that live in care options are more suitable allowing for your loved one to maintain their home and their independence while still receiving the care they need.

Continue to talk. If your loved one hasn’t been willing to accept any help, persist with patient, respectful suggestions. Tell your parent honestly you’re worried and why. Most importantly, keep trying. Aging loved ones may eventually realize that you have their best interests at heart.

Enlist help. If you are really worried and you feel you are getting nowhere then enlist some help from someone else. An old friend may hold more sway in convincing a parent to think about quality of life and their safety or there are professional services that can help you.

These tips are just a starting point, it is important to pay attention to the needs of your loved one.

Before pushing too hard for them to accept help, try to understand that we all see ourselves as younger than we really are.

About the Author

This post was written by Richard Mckenzie who is a manager at Promedica24, provider of live in care services. To read more on what live in care is and how it may be a better alternative to a care home click here.

Keeping Your Mind Active In Long Term Care

Keeping your brain sharp while living in an elderly care facility can seem challenging at times. Often, people consider the need to maintain their physical health, tossing mental health to the side and neglecting to exercise their brains. In order to maintain mental capability, it is important to exercise and train your brain consistently. There are a number of activities you can take part in on a daily basis to keep your brain functioning at its best!

Read:  Reading regularly is one of the best ways to exercise and develop the brain. This activity can trigger the mind to think outside the box, sparking the imagination and working the mind in unique and different ways. Whether you choose to read a book, a newspaper, or a magazine, reading every day will expand your knowledge, cognitive skills, and vocabulary and get your brain thinking!

Participate:  Take part in some sort of physical or group activity that your care facility offers. Check out the list of activities to find one that is right for you and your abilities. Sign up for a pottery class, join the bird watching group, or take dancing lessons. Contrary to what many people think about seniors and physical activity, it is important to get out and participate in some type of physical motion that intrigues you to better your muscle and brain health.

Play:  Whether you play an instrument, try to solve a word puzzle, or use your mental skills to win a board game, any and every kind of play is brain play! When you engage your brain in play, you sharpen your memory, recall, and logic skills. Physical games and activities can also help to keep the brain active in long-term care. Whether you are looking for exciting indoor winter activities or outdoor summer thrills, there are plenty of things older folks can do to keep their bodies and minds active.

Socialize:  Socializing opens you up to other people’s thoughts and ideas. Depending on the conversation, socializing with other members of your community can allow you to improve upon your debate and quick thinking skills. Building and maintaining friendships with others will keep your brain sharp, but it will also make your time in long term care more enjoyable.

Journal:  Writing your daily activity, thoughts, and other things down in a journal can help improve your brain function. As an added bonus, this gives you something to reflect back upon and read later! Advanced seniors who are familiar with computers and the use of the internet can even journal online or stay connected with friends and family via social media outlets or e-mail.

Nap:  Sleep to the brain is like food to your belly. Taking a twenty-minute nap midday can improve your memory skills about as much as a full night of sleep! Many seniors battle with sleep apnea, so resting up in the afternoon can also give you more energy to take part in other brain training activities later in the day.

Eat:  Incorporate foods that have been proven to help brain function into your daily diet. To keep your body and your brain functioning at their best, a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet is recommended. Consuming dark vegetables rich in nutrients and other foods that contain high levels of antioxidants aid the brain in memory and cognitive function.

Brain training has never been so important. Engaging the brain not only allows it to function better, but can also increase personal levels of physical and emotional rejuvenation. With these active mind tips and the right staffing and care at a facility, elderly minds can stay sharp!

About The Author

Ruth Folger Weiss is President of Ad Lib Unlimited Inc. and also works as the Advertising & Marketing Executive for elderly care and rehab facilities such as the New Eastwood Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center.