The reason we seek to arrange care for our loved ones as they age is simple: we want only the best for them. Unfortunately, this is not always a smooth and easy transition. For seniors who have been living independently in their own home for decades, the offer of introducing in-home care into their routine can be disturbing and upsetting. In some cases, they may react with anger, frustration, or even open hostility to the idea of having to “rely” on an in-home caregiver. Working through this phase of rejection can be difficult for even the best intentioned son or daughter. However, the benefits that come from making sure your loved ones are supported in their daily lives and receive the care they need in their own homes, far outweigh the initial difficulties that may result from these early conversations.
A Process Worth Working Through
If you’re feeling apprehensive about having a conversation with your parents or loved ones about in-home care, don’t allow feelings of shame or awkwardness delay the conversation. Instead, consider some advice that can help make this transition as smooth as possible.
The first step is always to talk over the potential of in-home care with your loved one as soon as possible. It can very possibly take longer than you expect to get their full buy-in on the decision and you don’t want to delay until services are desperately needed to begin that talk. How this will be best approached depends to a degree on the progression of their illness. Someone with advanced dementia may have a difficult time grasping the concept of in-home care, while someone who is just struggling with a few basic daily activities may be much more receptive to an open conversation about the topic. It is also possible to get a representative from the care company to discuss the options and procedures with the client before service begins as well.
Ease into the Process
When someone is first introduced to the concept of in-home care and exhibits resistance, it can be useful to ease them into the process. Start by having the in-home care professional stop by on an occasional basis to help out with a few daily living tasks and to visit with the client. Establishing a relationship is one of the things that can help someone receiving in-home care be more receptive.
During these visits, it is a good idea to have the caregiver focus on visiting and doing activities with the patient in order to help establish a bond. Depending on the nature and severity of the condition that led your family to try in-home care, it can take some time and several visits in order to establish a relationship and trust. This is more of a concern in cases in which dementia is a factor.
In-home care workers are highly trained at building relationships with new clients. They are skilled at engaging with people who might be reticent or apprehensive about the idea of someone coming into their home and invading their private space. Over time, they can come more and more often and begin to assist with more aspects of the daily activities that the patient requires help with.
Compassion is the Key
For a loved one to accept the concept of in-home care, the most important thing is that they feel heard and understood. There are some sad occasions where a child or other relative, usually with the best of intentions, forces in-home care on someone. This can feel like a massive invasion of privacy, causing resentment and resistance to care that may never go away.
The alternative to this is to show real compassion and a willingness to listen. Having honest and open conversations with your loved one is vital to the acceptance process. The key is to make them understand that their concerns and worries are being heard and addressed. Some of the worries that a person might have when being confronted with the possibility of in-home care include:
- That their privacy is going to be invaded
- That they are losing independence
- That a stranger will be in their home
- That they will be put in a vulnerable position
- That they are losing freedom
- That they are incapable or incompetent
It is important to not dismiss these concerns or to belittle them. Instead, someone with these types of worries should be made to feel as though they have been heard and understood. Work collaboratively with them to find ways to introduce them to the concept of in-home care without offending them or frightening them. Practice active listening when confronted with their concerns, while trying gently to explain how in-home care could actually enhance their quality of life and independence.
Focus on the Benefits
For many people, the thought of moving to an inpatient facility or assisted living community can be especially frightening. People get very attached to their homes and to the independence and comfort that comes from being in a familiar place. Demonstrating how in-home care can allow someone to continue to enjoy all the comforts of home for much longer can be a valuable tool in making them more comfortable with the concepts of in-home care. Their alternative of being moved to a facility where assistance is available around the clock is often much less appealing to people who are in need of assistance.
This can be an excellent opportunity to incorporate some preliminary visits from an in-home care professional. They can help illustrate how visits can actually enhance the independence someone feels in their home. A care worker can help patients perform daily necessary activities during their visits. These then free the patient up to enjoy their independence in the comfort of their own home throughout the remainder of the day.
Discuss In-Home Care With a Professional
The best way to start begin the transition to in-home care is to schedule a visit and in-home consultation. If you’re worried about resistance to the introduction of in-home care, it may be a good idea to speak with a professional about their concerns before the first visit. In-home care agencies such as Comfort Home Care have experience dealing with people who may be fearful or embarrassed about the prospect of in-home care. We can provide specific feedback based on a given situation to help bridge the gap between the need for in-home care and actually starting the process of that care being provided. Contact Comfort Home Care to schedule a free, in-home consultation today.