Alistair Shanks, our Managing Director, talks through how to approach this common but upsetting dilemma in this edition of our series of video blogs about supporting parents as they get older.
Understanding why your loved one is reluctant
Often, an older person might be worried about the costs of care. This is understandable as, for example, home care fees can be high. However, a few care visits to someone’s home are unlikely to be too costly. It is worth trying to discuss this concern with your Dad as he may find it worthwhile to use a little of his savings for something that improves the quality of his life. Help with funding (such as Attendance Allowance) might also be worth investigating, and we will discuss funding in a future video blog.
Perhaps your Dad feels he does not need care. He may indeed be coping with looking after his basic needs himself but if he has stopped doing some of the things he previously enjoyed then extra support can help him enjoy life more.
Often in the early stages of dementia a person does not have the cognitive ability to recognise their needs. This can be a challenge but if you are concerned about their safety, it is worth persevering with introducing care.
Fear about the loss of independence is not unusual but actually, care and support can give people back their independence. Has your Mum or Dad stopped doing things because they are difficult? Carers can enable clients to do the activities they used to enjoy; to see friends, go shopping and so on.
Finally, sometimes people are concerned about other people’s perceptions that they are receiving care. Many of us would think nothing of paying for a cleaner or gardener to help us at home and receiving help with practical tasks at home is similar – the extra support gives back your relative the ability to enjoy their life.
Tactics for talking about care
Together with our clients, we have found four strategies that can help continuing the conversation with your relative about receiving care.
First, you could try to encourage them to have a small amount of help with practical tasks such as cleaning. The benefit of using a care agency instead of a cleaning agency is that care staff are trained in working with people, particularly older people, and spotting issues that may need support.
You could try explaining how the responsibility of caring for your Mum or Dad is currently placed on you and that it has an impact on you and your relationship with them. Having a carer gives you and your parent more opportunity to chat and enjoy your relationship.
Thirdly, you may be able to show your Dad how he can enjoy more independence by accepting some external care. If he has stopped driving, a carer can take him places or perhaps free up time for your Mum to do some of the things she wants or needs to do.
Finally, ask your loved one if he or she would be open to trying out a carer for a short time, such as once a month. Often, once clients experience the benefits of having a carer, they are keen to continue. They enjoy the company of their carer and value the support and independence that receiving care gives.
Importantly, unless your loved one does not have the capacity to make their own decisions, ultimately it is their choice about whether to receive care but if you can see the benefits to them of having a bit of care, your influence is really important in helping them understand the difference it could make to the quality of their life.
Do get in touch if you would like to know more about how our home care or live-in care could help your parent. We provide care services in Farnham, Fleet, Farnborough, Godalming, Guildford, Bordon, Alton and surrounding areas.