If you have a parent or relative who is struggling to cope alone at home, you will most likely be starting to think about care options. Talking to them about how they feel they are coping and putting help in place might be necessary, but sometimes this can be a difficult conversation to have. Read on for tips on how to best broach the subject of care with an elderly relative.
When to Talk
Many elderly people manage admirably alone, but if you start to notice any of the following problems, then it might be time to consider getting help.
- Confusion or memory problems
- Problems getting around
- Deteriorating standards of personal care or hygiene
- Problems with everyday tasks such as dressing or cooking
If you believe your relative will be resistant to discussing their situation, always choose the right time and place and have a plan in place.
Before tackling this type of sensitive conversation, make sure you know what options there are in place to help your relative. This could include extra help in the home on a weekly basis, daily medical care, daily help with everyday tasks, a move into sheltered housing with 24 hour emergency help, or even a care home. Research the types of services available in your area so you can present them with choices.
Make it a Two Way Conversation
Provided your relative is reasonably sound of mind, you should always approach the conversation as a discussion rather than a statement of fact. You could open by asking questions such as; “Is there anything you think might help you?” or, “I worry about you here alone. Do you think we could talk about getting you some extra support?”
Care costs can be expensive, so it’s also a good idea to consider what your relative can afford. Depending on their financial circumstances, they might be entitled to help from their Local Authority. Councils charge for the domiciliary care services that they provide, and only certain people qualify for help with the costs. So you will have to apply for a needs assessment from the social services.
If your relative is assessed as in need of care and they require financial help, then social services will do a means test to work out how much or little help with costs they would be entitled to.
New rules mean that those who require non-urgent help and support, are allocated a sum of money called a personal health budget. This allows them to choose who they would like to provide their care, so they can either employ a personal carer privately or use a professional health care service to provide help.
If your relative needs a higher level of help and care than can be provided at home, then means-tested funding is also available for payment towards a care home. However, this is a big decision to make and you shouldn’t try and rush a relative into it. Always take time to visit homes before suggesting any changes in a housing situation.
By Harry Price
Harry Price is a multi talented young man from a small village on the south coast. Not only is he a great freelance writer but he talented sportman and cook too.