Have you been putting ‘the Aged Care Conversation’ off for a while now? Maybe feeling a bit of denial and guilt about the situation? But deep in your gut, is a niggling feeling that its time to have the chat?
Maybe you have been feeling really strained with the caring responsibilities, which are becoming increasingly demanding – their dependence on you, much like your dependence on them when you were a child.
The role reversal common to many can be hard to accept, with both parties. They have always been the authorative figure, now you have to step up and make decisions for them.
So, like many in the same position, you put it off. Avoid the uncomfortable. But to what cost?
Increasing risk of falls, increasing loss of quality of life, increasing chance of the unknown that something could happen.
Has mum or dad been extra confused or forgetful lately? Have they had increased falls or hospitalizations? Are they struggling with their activities of daily living? Has their quality of life decreased, and they just don’t seem themselves? It may be time to have the Aged Care Conversation.
The Aged Care Ready Angels have shared some of their top tips based on personal and professional experience on approaching the topic with your loved one.
- Don’t put it off. The earlier you approach this delicate topic, the better. Even just planting the little seed thought in their minds earlier on, (you will probably be met with resistance) but over time they will consider the idea, and the seed will grow.
- Discuss the issue well before they suffer any cognitive deficit. While they are still of sound mind and can competently express their wishes and needs. That way when the time does come, you will know exactly what they would like.
- Having the conversation and possibly having services or an aged care placement before any decline can save a decline in health due to falls or being unable to self care. Prevention is better than needing a cure, and having to rush a placement and fight with your loved one, due to for example a broken hip after a fall. You want your mum and dad to remain healthy and happy for as long as possible.
- Approach the topic carefully. Sit down with them, in a quiet room with little distractions, have planned what you want to talk about. Don’t be forceful or dominating, treat them with respect and give them options and a choice. They need to be listened to. Allow them time to process, maybe offer some brochures or information they can take away and consider. Let them know your concerns are coming from a place of love, support and you have their best interests at heart, and not that you feel like they are a nuicance to you.
- If you have family – have a pre discussion with them, and be united on your opinions and goals. Your mum or dad have enough to deal with without adding in family drama and conflict.
- Respite care can be a great stepping stone into permanent aged care placement. It allows them a temporary taste of life in residential aged care, and can often alleviate their fears and anxiety and help them realise its not as bad and scary as they thought, and can actually help improve their quality of life.
We know first hand, the transition to aged care brings on a lot of emotions for all parties involved, including grief, guilt, fear, anxiety, resistance, and finally, peace of mind.
Grief from you, as you are slowly losing the person you know and love so much.
Grief from them, as they are losing their abilities, their home, their routine.
Guilt from you, if you are making the right choice, and hurting them in the short term for long term gain.
Fear and anxiety of the unknown.
But with this transition, when the time is right, will eventually come peace of mind, we promise.