How To Discuss Long Term Care Options With Parents

How To Discuss Long Term Care Options With Parents

Discussing long term care options with your parents can be difficult.    But sometimes, it is not just the choice between homecare or nursing home.  Usually, the main hurdle is that their parents are so independent they find it very difficult to accept they need any help at all.  Good research can make the job easier.

When To Discuss Long Term Care Options With Parents

Family members find it very hard watching loved one’s age and their health decline.  You can see that things are changing for your parent – but they want to ‘leave things be’.  They too will naturally be very anxious as to what lies ahead for them as they are experiencing the reality of the changes.

You might be already struggling with the current level of support you are offering and don’t want to appear selfish, uncaring or increasing the idea of them being a burden.   Don’t feel guilty – really your concern is to ensure their overall safety and well-being and how to preserve their independence, respect, dignity and privacy as they move into old age.

“My Mam does not want to go into an institution, but at the same time, she is not wanting strangers into her home.  To be honest we were anxious ourselves about this so it was hard to bring up the conversation in the beginning’

As hard as it is, the sooner the better this conversation takes place.  It needs to be before the family carers are burnt out and before crisis situations occur as emotion and stress only add confusion.


Tips for the First Conversation On Long Term Care Options

  1. Keep it Short – the first conversation is sowing the seeds
  2. Avoid  ‘Ganging up’ – the initial conversation should not be promoting foregone conclusions previously agreed by siblings.
  3. Raise questions around your concerns
  4. Use examples of people you know
  5. Have things for them to read after
  6. Reassure them the final decision are theirs


Open, Transparent Communication

The best way to overcome issues of anxiety and fear of the unknown is inclusion and open and transparent communication between everybody.

Explain that you are looking into all options and you will be talking with people you can trust for information.  Your local Public Health Nurse or hospital discharge staff can provide good support here.

Get written information so that the person can take their time to be part of the decision making.  This also helps them accept the change in circumstance.


Is Homecare the Right Long Term Care Option for Your Parents?

Most people prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible, following their usual routines and with family and friends for as long as possible.
Homecare support is about maximizing independence safely within the home, so this could be a good option for your parents.
Homecare services range from helping with daily activities such as dressing, bathing, and preparing meals up to prompting medications.
They also provide companionship and can accompany your parent to and from appointments and activities.

Other benefits of homecare services to consider:

  1. Homecare managers help assess your parents’ home and suggest modifications and assistive devices to maximize independence and prevent injury. They work with family members to develop a care plan personalized for your parents’ specific needs.
  2. Professional carers provide first-hand observations of your parents’ changing needs and via care managers work with your parents’ community medical team to adjust their care plans.
  3. When one parent requires more personal assistance than the other, carers can provide much-needed relief, allowing both parents to stay together at home.
  4. With the right provider, you can have peace of mind knowing that carers are properly supervised with 24/7 support, are thoroughly screened and vetted and that carers receive ongoing training and supervision.


Get Referrals from people you trust

Try to get referrals or testimonies from people you know.  People who use homecare services are best placed to tell you what they like or don’t like and this can help you know what to ask when talking to providers.

You can never be too careful:  it is important that the care service you decide on shows attention to detail and quick reaction to any changes in welfare.  You should ask about carers education and experience and the type of supervision or support that happens.


Key Care Qualities: Homecare

The key qualities we look for in our people are

  • kindness, dependability
  • passion for the work & client advocacy,
  • a true understanding of the care at home role & the duty of care


Remember, you have to have confidence not only in the direct care providers but with the supporting office staff too.


Best Possible Solution

You need to feel sure you have done everything right in two areas:

  • the best possible care solution for your parent or loved one
  • you can work as a partner with a trusted care provider


Applewood Homecare - Free Homecare Assessment


Related Resources:

How to Choose the Right Homecare Provider

What is Home Care