It can be very difficult to watch when one of our loved ones begin to struggle to look after themselves, even more so when they can't see it or refuse help when you offer it. It can be a very sensitive subject for some and therefore it is very important that you approach the conversation cautiously and do not overwhelm them with information or pressure them into it.
As a domiciliary care company we truly understand the difficulties of this period and have compiled a list of things to-do to help make the process easier:
Firstly, do not spend too long thinking about mentioning the decline in their abilities to them. They may still manage on their own now however in a few months they may not. Discussing the future early on will give them more time to evaluate the options and come to terms with the fact that they may need assistance at home. By starting the discussion early, it also allows you to ask more vague questions that elude to future care rather than needing to be straight to the point. Mentioning 'carers' or 'domiciliary care' can cause them to shut off the conversation early, more probing questions like 'do you think it would be good to have someone in to clean the house once a week?' can be a better place to start as it gets them thinking about their current workload and if they can manage it.
It's vital to be understanding and to show as much patience as possible. For many elderly people, they may be aware of their declining physical and mental abilities and this will be undoubtedly be a scary time for them. This is why its important to make sure you show empathy for their situation and help them deal with the emotional stress this puts on them. Once they have aired their concerns and know you have listened and understand how they feel, they will be more open to the conversation of home care and the the next steps.
Be there at all times, it is inevitable that there will be moments when they will struggle and this can come out in different ways, this could be turning back on decisions, becoming angry or going quiet and into a shell. When this happens just continue to provide the best support you can, the stress and fear this situation is causing may sometimes get the better of them. Know that it isn't personal and keep in mind that in the longer term it will be for the best.
Be sure to allow them to maintain a sense of control. If they feel that they will no longer be able to do things they enjoy or the complete tasks the way they like then it is likely that help will be refused. This is why it is important to provide a wealth of options, this can make them feel that they are still in charge of their life and can make it easier for them to accept help from a care company.
If possible, spend some time helping your loved one around the house. This way you will be able to create a list of the main priorities and issues around the house. This information can be very useful when trying to determine what level of support is required and can make the process of bringing someone in much smoother.
Go at their pace when getting a carer in, as mentioned earlier, it is important to begin the conversation early on because then it allows for maximum time in deciding what to-do next. Being forced to rush into a decision can be very uncomfortable and you may make a mistake. Get all available information and work together to select the right one for your loved one. Ask to have an informal interview with the carers if that makes you feel more confident in taking one on, getting to know the people taking care of them can also make the process a lot more relaxing for all parties involved.
If they are still refusing help from you and are adamant that they can manage alone, try to take them to the doctors. They may be more inclined to listen to a medical professional and this may convince them to take on some at home care, this can be frustrating for you, especially if the doctor tell them the same things you have been saying for months, however it may be the turning point.
We at Angelcare understand that some people may be apprehensive about bringing in a care company to help them with daily tasks. This is why we offer bespoke packages to provide them with assistance for tasks they want/need help with. From the first interaction we have with our clients whether that be through email, telephone or at their home. We strive to make every single one of our clients feel comfortable and be fully aware of all aspects of their care plan, we are flexible with our packages and can adjust our degree of care based on the clients current wants and needs.