George struggles to walk into your office. Carol runs over a curb and almost hits a car. John arrives with an unshaven face, misbuttoned shirt and mentions his busy week consisting of two appointments. Do you acknowledge their struggles or do you offer help? What if they start bouncing checks, missing appointments or are confused? When do you empathize with their struggles, make accommodations for them or take action to find help and resources? Here are a few approaches and tips on having these difficult conversations to get the help they need:
The Direct Approach: Are you worried about this senior’s safety and the safety of others when they’re driving? Do you visit them at home to keep from getting behind the wheel? Discuss safety concerns for them and others on the road. Offer solutions for them to maintain their independence by hiring ElderCare 4 Families to drive them to their appointments, Church, the grocery, luncheons or wherever they want to go. For seniors needing help with their home cleaning, discuss the advantages of having a cleaning person so that they may spend more time reading, gardening or volunteering. If steps are an issue, “I see the steps are a problem and notice you almost fell, is that happening frequently?” Offer help to keep them safe.
An indirect, relaxed approach. “How is your house?” Acknowledge the difficulty of maintaining and keeping the house clean. When they show interest or buy-in, casually mention the idea of hiring a home care company who can clean now but can also help with personal care in the future.
Discuss resources in the area. “Did you know there is a free or discounted gym membership with Silver Sneakers? I know you’ve been wanting to exercise more, I know a company, ElderCare 4 Families, who can drive you to your exercise classes and even exercise with you if you want?”
Use another senior as an example. I spoke to your neighbor, Mary, today and she mentioned having some extra time these days as she has a caregiver come in to help with grocery shopping, making meals, and helping her exercise. “What do you think about the idea of getting some help?”
Share Compliments. “I noticed you are really doing great getting around. I bet you have a few friends that need some help walking or driving to your weekly luncheon at O’Charleys? I know a reputable home care company that can help if you want to share a number or brochure with them.”
Plant the seed early. Don’t wait until you see signs, plant the seed for care early. “Would you ever enjoy someone coming in to make meals and do some cleaning? What would the pros and cons be?” Keep in mind it may take multiple conversations over time for them to agree to help. Ultimately, persistence will allow them to have the help they need to age in place
Follow up. Use past conversations to revisit their safety, happiness and health so that aging in place can be a reality. Offer help as needed.
Use End of Life Planning. Planning can be the gateway for future conversations and ensure all end of life documents are set up. Make sure all legal documents are in place – wills, living wills, power of attorneys or health surrogate. As they age, help them select the providers to implement their plans.
ElderCare 4 Families is happy to help the seniors you know wherever they call home. Complimentary assessments are offered with no obligation by ElderCare 4 Families, Personalized care is offered from 1 hour up to 24//7. With over 39 years of caring experience in the Louisville and Southern Indiana area, trust ElderCare 4 Families to care for the seniors in your life. Call us at 502-244-8446 if we can help.