When and How Should We Have the Hard Conversations About Care? – Home Support Services

When and How Should We Have the Hard Conversations About Care?

The old 40-70 rule suggests that when you are 40, or your parents are approaching 70, it’s time to start talking about home care services and future care needs in general.

This may seem out of sync for many with healthy active 70 odd year-old parents many of which are still helping with the family childcare, involved in business or travelling across Australia or the world!

Generational differences are constantly evolving due to a range of significant factors including improved health care which enables people to generally live well longer.

At Home Support Services (HSS), our staff work with the elderly every day providing quality home nursing and care services. Not discussing care preferences or making plans until crisis situations arise – is one of the most common family issues our staff see.

Why is it so hard?

It is estimated that one-third of adults have a major communication obstacle with their parents as a continuation of the parent-child role. Families stuck in a parent-child rather than peer-to-peer role can have greater difficulties navigating the big issues including aging and care requirements. Addressing care can also be difficult due to the association with a loss of independence and the emotions involved with facing the realities of change for everyone.

How to have critical conversations about future care

  • Start a casual conversation about preferred care arrangements early. Don’t wait until emotions are running high and emergency decisions need to be made in a crisis situation.
  • Open the lines of communication carefully. Talk and listen with an open mind. Respect everyone’s wants and needs while sharing any concerns in a thoughtful manner. Empathy and understanding are the keys to a good outcome for all. If emotions begin to run too high during the conversation – take a break and reconvene when things have calmed down.
  • If family members have a genuine concern about the ability of the senior to cope, it is important to address the problem before it becomes a safety risk. Providing concrete examples to support the concern is as important as raising the issue in a respectful manner.
  • Tackle one issue at a time. When a health or safety issue arises, it can be more productive to help find a solution to that specific problem. Start the conversation with something like “let’s figure out a plan together”.

Our tips for creating an action plan for aging

  1. It is as important for the elderly as it is for the younger generation to have the hard conversations to ensure everyone understands each other’s needs and wants in relation to implementing an action plan for the future.
  2. For seniors – take the lead and have choice and control over your future. Having these critical conversations will ensure your family clearly understand what you want and will enable you, as a family, to plan accordingly.
  3. Aim for the maximum amount of independence for the entire family. Look for solutions to allow everyone the freedom to live well.
  4. The care of the elderly can often become a source of conflict between siblings. It can be difficult to avoid family conflict without an agreed pathway of care and appropriate support or respite for the primary caregivers. Make sure everyone is informed and on the same page.
  5. Many problems that a family will face due to aging can be solved by providing seniors with the support they need to continue to maintain their independence. A small amount of in-home help can make a huge difference and can often delay any need for further care or a move. The key is in early planning and the ongoing implementation of appropriate levels of care.

Care as individual as you are

At HSS, we work with you to establish the level of care that is required for your unique circumstance.  Give us a call at HSS today to discuss your needs!

Complete, Understanding, Respectful Care in the Privacy of Your Own Home.

Registered Nurses / Home Carers / Domestics / Allied Health / Rapid Response / Case Management