Home Instead Tips on Approaching Care

Here at Home Instead, we understand the topic of care is not always an easy one to discuss. Deciding on the right care needs careful consideration to make sure it is suitable for you and your loved one. If you have a loved one, it’s likely that they’ll need some form of care in the future, or they may have already had an early diagnosis.

For most of us, the reality of loved ones getting older and needing more help isn’t something we want to think about. But now is the time to start discussions about what their needs and options are. These conversations are often difficult to have, but it’s important to plan to ensure a future peace of mind and make the process as stress free as possible. 

So, how can you approach care when your loved ones reach the stage of not being able to live at home completely independent?

We often hear during the enquiry stage that a loved one needs ‘convincing’ to get the help they need but are resistant due to many factors. 

The cost of care is always a worry and part of the conversation for many, depending on your loved ones needs. Public information about paying for care is often complicated and not always easily accessible to an individual, especially during a difficult time such as when someone needs care immediately.

Signs your loved one needs care:

It is recommended that having an open conversation as early as possible before physical or cognitive changes make it difficult for your loved one to perform activities of daily living without assistance. The conversation about care doesn’t have to happen in a scary way – it’s just another conversation about life put into context. When planning for your conversation, look out for the signs that your loved one may need assistance.

A recent study by Home Instead found that 28% of adults polled, admit they have serious concerns that their loved ones aren’t currently safe living on their own. Similarly, 33% worry about their mum and dad’s physical health, yet 81% admitted they are reluctant to have a conversation with their parents about possible care options. Of those who have had the difficult conversation with their relatives, a quarter said their parents got upset when the subject was broached, while 24% said they got defensive.

Increased Forgetfulness - As we age, the changes in our brains make it more difficult to remember things. From losing keys, to leaving an appliance turned on – your loved one’s forgetfulness can put their safety at risk.

Deteriorating Mental Health - Depression and anxiety is relatively common among older adults, which can be caused by the many transitions older people go through in a short amount of time – like retiring from work or developing health conditions. The symptoms of depression in older people are often different in younger people; your loved one may be moody or irritable when communicating, or they may be experiencing fatigue or insomnia as well.

Recent Falls or Injuries - Falls and fractures are a common and serious health issue faced by older people in England. People aged 65 and older have the highest risk of falling; around a third of people aged 65 and over, and around half of people aged 80 and over, fall at least once a year.

If you’re concerned about an aging parent, watch for signs of recent falls, such as broken bones, bruises, and head injuries. You may also notice that they cut back on regular activities due to a fear of falling again.

There are other signs that may highlight a concern or a need for care:

  • Noticeable or sudden weight loss
  • Noticeable lack of hygiene
  • Unexplained bruises or injuries
  • Mobility problems
  • Frequently missing appointments
  • Missing social plans

What causes resistance to care? 
Care for older people can often be challenging, particularly if a loved one says they don’t want or need help. Understand their resistance and what’s causing it, and how you can encourage cooperation.

If your loved one is in need of care, they are likely dealing with loss – this could be physical, mental, the loss of their spouse, or the loss of independence. Many fear that accepting the help, may mean removing privacy, introducing new activities, and adjusting to new routines. Any of these factors can make your loved one feel anxious, frightened, vulnerable, angry, or guilty of becoming a burden. Memory loss can also be a large factor in building barriers for your loved one to understand why they may need help.

Resistance to care can feel quite personal, even when it’s not. Take the time to understand everything that your loved one is dealing with, and you will see where their resistance is coming from.

It’s important to remember that resistance to care is not personal, even if your loved one is angry, the anger is not directed at you. By being patient, talking about the benefits and barriers, and practice compassion, you will see that resistance fade away.