Q: I think I know what my parents’ wishes are when it comes to care as they get older but now it’s time to be having this conversation with my parents I really don’t know where to begin. They don’t what to end up in a Nursing Home, and it’s getting to the point that they need some help. My brother lives in Dublin and my sister in Australia so it’s going to be up to me to start addressing this arising issue. Where do I start?
The research you do ahead of time combined with a respectful and supportive approach to the conversation will go a long way toward a successful outcome. Prior to talking to your parents it would be a good idea to discuss your concerns with your brother and sister. If all the siblings are united, it will really help the situation.
The best way to approach this topic is to remember planning and reasonable expectations are needed. Don’t try and control the situation or rush to implement any changes – ultimately it is your parents decision. Sometimes worrying about bringing up the topic is worse than the actual discussion. Simply put it to your parents that you know that it is their wish to stay at home and that you would like to discuss with them a plan for making sure that this is possible. Put some examples to them, such as if they become less mobile would they consider a stair lift or would they like to move their bedroom downstairs. If they are in a position that they need help having a shower would they want a family member to help them or would they prefer a professional CAREGiver.
Here in Ireland the HSE does provide an element of support to the elderly in their home, but not everyone would meet the criteria. Do some research so that you can put to them the realistic options. If it is likely that they will have to pay for care put to them what needs to be considered eg. Trained and vetted CAREGiver from a reputable home care provider vs paying cash to an uninsured, trained person! In some cases it can help to discuss using resources on a trial basis. They don’t need to be considered permanent
If paying for care there is tax relief available – this can reduce the cost by up to 41% so research how this works and how your family might be able to avail of this.
Keep in mind, the desired end results for most aging parents centre on feeling secure, maintaining personal freedom, having peace of mind, making their own choices and having friends & family nearby.
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