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7 tips for talking to your loved one about accepting help at home

If your loved one is needing support to continue to safely live at home or is receiving care, but their needs have since increased, it can be challenging to approach a conversation with them about accepting help at home. You may find they don’t want to acknowledge that they need any, or further assistance, or are worried they will lose their independence.

Nurse smiling with client

Here, Prestige Inhome Care CEO Nick McDonald shares 7 tips on how to talk to your loved one about accepting help at home.

1. Start the conversation early

Don’t wait until you’re in a crisis; when your loved one has had a fall; or reached their wits’ end. Start the conversation early while they’re still independent. The earlier the conversation can be had, the greater the likelihood that it can be a casual two-way conversation rather than forced on the person you love.

2. Get aligned

If you have multiple stakeholders involved, like siblings, get aligned first. Then together, as a united front, have a conversation with your loved one.

3. Listen

Your loved one must be an active participant in the conversation. Don’t talk at them, converse with them. Ask what they would like or need help with. Could they benefit from having someone take care of keeping the house clean and tidy? Or doing the laundry? Or chores outside the home like the weekly grocery shop? 

Also be sure to ask what they may be afraid of or worried about and use their responses to guide your conversation.

In this video Nick shares some of his tips on talking to your loved one about accepting help at home with Starts at 60.

4. Start small

For most older people, the thought of giving up or losing their independence can be confronting. To manage their concerns, you could suggest they start small with just one form of support like cleaning. Your loved one may be more receptive to this suggestion than something that’s more personal care centred.

From our 20 years of experience in supporting people in remaining in the comfort of their own homes, we know that it’s often once they start receiving some assistance, that their fears or concerns are broken down and they become receptive to additional support at home.

5. Do your research  

Have some idea of what in-home care services are available and the potential costs. Would your loved one be eligible for a government-funded Home Care Package? Or would you or your loved one need to privately self-fund the help?

Additionally, is there anyone your loved one knows, like a long-time friend or neighbour, who receives in-home support? Have these real-life examples (of someone you both know who is benefiting from outside help at home) ready to draw from in your conversation.

Be prepared to take on any questions or issues that may arise (when having the conversation). If they fall outside your knowledge base, make the effort to research them and go back for a further discussion with your loved one.

6. Prepare to be patient

Accepting help at home can be a tricky conversation to cover. Don’t expect to have any resolutions the first time around. You may need to plant the seed and keep coming back to it. Don’t rush things unless of course time is critical.

 7. When to have the conversation?

There is no perfect time or moment to have a conversation with your loved one about accepting help at home. Ideally, the sooner you can – when your loved one is a while off needing assistance in remaining in their own home – the better.

If you’re unable to have the conversation early, you may start noticing some tell-tale signs that your loved one may need some assistance. Some signs include:

  • Having difficulty with everyday tasks such as cooking and cleaning
  • The fridge and/or pantry being bare or filled with expired foods
  • Changes to their physical functions and/or cognitive abilities
  • Changes to their appearance: Has your loved one always maintained a well-groomed appearance, but they’re now no longer wearing fresh clothes? 
  • Social withdrawal

If you need further support in talking to your loved one about accepting help at home, or if you would like to discuss how our range of services – which start from as little as one to two hours – can support your loved one in remaining in the comfort of their own home, call our friendly team on 1300 10 30 10 for no-obligation advice.