Bringing up the topic of residential aged care with your elderly parents can be one we’d rather avoid. It’s natural to want your aging parents to continue living in their own home for as long as possible. But, if you’ve noticed a change in their mobility lately, or that they’re starting to find everyday tasks a bit more challenging, a move into an aged care community might be a safer option for them.
So, what’s the best way to raise the subject? Here are four tips to help you start a positive conversation about aged care:
1. Do some research first.
Before you raise the topic, find out about residential aged care communities in their local area. Contact them to take a tour and compile a list of what you liked or disliked about each one.
2. Pick the best moment and location.
Choose a time when you won’t be interrupted and when your loved one seems receptive and calm. The setting is also important – choose somewhere private and on neutral ground so they don’t feel ambushed. Consider options such as a scenic car drive or a quiet park bench with a view.
3. Choose your language carefully.
Rather than leading with an emotional statement like, ‘I don’t think it’s safe for you to live at home anymore’, try something that conveys you’re in this together. A softer question, such as ‘If you’re starting to find daily tasks a bit harder, what other options could we investigate?’ might be better received. Ask them how they feel about their future, listen without interrupting and keep looking at things from their perspective.
4. Be prepared for an emotional response or a shut down.
Your elderly parent might feel scared or even shocked at the prospect of leaving their own home. They might resist talking about it altogether, or respond with negativity. Remind them how much you want them to live their best life possible, and that talking through options together is a way of forward planning to keep them safe and healthy. If you feel the conversation isn’t going well, consider trying again another time, or even engaging help from their GP or health practitioner.
If you’re ready to start looking at aged care options for your parent, contact our friendly Admissions Team.