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How to Talk to your Parents About the Care they may need as they Age


Elderly lady sat in garden with home carer drinking cup of tea

Introduction


As our parents age, it’s a great idea to have a good chat at some point about the ‘type’ of care they may want should they need it, where they would like that care to be received, arrangements for critical illness and important decisions related to, financial arrangements, and of course funeral arrangements too. Before we investigate this further, it’s probably worth mentioning my family have a very positive outlook on life. Our glasses are not even half full – we like to think they are always filled to the top (the way we like our wine glass too)! We also have a gorgeously wicked sense of humour and it’s this that I think makes conversations such as the one we are talking about here, more palatable for everyone. A tease about who’s getting the family silver, a joke about scattering ashes on an unfortunately windy day, or a giggle over arranging the worst care possible unless they keep us sweet – all ways to lead into a positive, nice chat about their wishes and how you will help them to achieve their wishes.


This blog focusses on talking about ‘care options’ and how to talk to your parents about care, with a focus on arranging ‘Live-in Care’ so here we go.


There’s a couple of things to do before you start. Firstly, proposition the conversation – either come at it like we do with a flippant joke followed by a ‘seriously though Mum, I’d like to get this right for you so can we make a time to sit and have a good natter’ or write an email or message any other way if easier. By asking to arrange a Sunday roast for example, to talk it through at some point gives you time to get some research done and your parents a chance to have a think about what they really want in later life.


So, whilst they are busy thinking, it’s time for you to do some research.


Firstly, check out what care options are on the market and the approximate costs involved. At the time of writing and given my industry knowledge here’s a list of the main types of care for the elderly:


  • Domiciliary/Hourly Care (where community carers pop in and out for batches of time from a 15-minute call to blocks of hours)

  • Live-in Care – also known as 24hr Care At Home (where a qualified Carer is arranged and engaged to come and live with them in their own home)

  • Residential Care (a move into a care home or a nursing home)


Heard of the saying ‘horses for courses?’ Well, care is exactly that – what may suit one person may be another’s worst nightmare. So, question one when talking to your parents about care is:


Where would you like to live as you age and need care?


They’ll either say in my own home or that they would be happy to move to a residential care setting (e.g., care home, assisted living facility, retirement village with the opportunity to book care if needed etc)


My parents ardently wish to remain living in their own home so therefore my brother and I know that the options of care for us to arrange for them have narrowed to domiciliary hourly care and then to Live-in Care. That’s one thing we know for sure and we will do everything we possibly can to make this happen for them.


OK, now’s the time to mention cost. There’s no two ways about it and I’m not going to mince words…… care is expensive! And it is most definitely a consideration you all need to think through when future planning.


HOWEVER, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, if a person wishes to stay in the comfort and familiarity of their own home then there is always a way this can be done. No one should be forced to leave their home and funded care can be provided at home in most cases. I’ve come across instances where people call us and say ‘but ‘they’ said my Mum has to go into a care home’ or ‘we’ve been told that a care home is the only option’ – well, we’ve helped hundreds of people arrange care at home over the years and honestly it normally comes down to helping people understand, and by people I mean social workers (who I think are awesome people by the way, but many still don’t know about all the home care options available), care professionals, financial advisors, and, well, us lay people too, but by working together we can try our very hardest to find a way to make it possible if that is what your parent truly desires. There are many resources out there to help get to grips with the cost of care and here are a few to help you get started:


In a nutshell though, (at the time of writing) if your parents have a maximum of £23,250 (in England) in savings they could be entitled to funding. Currently, the following thresholds apply:

  • England: £14,250 – £23,250

  • Scotland: £20,250 – £37,750

  • Northern Ireland: £14,250 – £23,250

Those below the lower threshold receive maximum support, while those exceeding the upper threshold receive no assistance. Assets between these limits result in scaled financial aid.


Understanding the Need for Care for the elderly and the Positive Benefits


Ok, so let’s be honest, there comes a point where we as children, (and I generally mean of the 40 plus variety) think we know what’s best for our parents. I’m not sure exactly when the flip happens but I’m sure you know what I mean. The question I think we must ask ourselves here is ‘do we?’ Do we actually know what’s best for them or do we just assume we do? We all know that assumption is a dangerous ground to tread. My point here is that all we can really do is present our thoughts in a way that doesn’t make us the ‘bad guys.’ So we need to ensure we talk to our parents about why we think they may want to consider the option of arranging care at home and ensure them that when they feel the time is right we are here to hep them do exactly that. To help us with the ‘why’ here’s some of the main advantages/benefits/reasons…..


Health, Safety, Companionship & Housekeeping


1. Health: If your parents' health is deteriorating, they may require daily assistance with tasks such as bathing, dressing, and medication management to help ensure your parents are comfortable. All afore-mentioned care options will offer this. A huge benefit of arranging Live-in Care is the carers’ ability to provide this as and when desired throughout a day (as they are not restricted on times – they live-in!) Supporting a parent provides numerous health benefits, from keeping tabs of Dad’s prescription schedules to ensuring Mum’s dressed in her favourite blouse ready to host Sunday lunch with the family.


2. Safety: As we age falling and forgetfulness can become more frequent, posing significant risks to those living alone and a constant worry to relatives. Perhaps more than any other model of care due to the one-to-one attention, a Live-in Carer will always be on hand to ensure your parents are safe and well while remaining in the comfortable surroundings of their own home. Did you know that the Care Choices 2023 report reported that it’s “3x more likely to have a hip fracture in Residential Care than if they receive Live-in care in their home”


3. Companionship: Elderly parents can sometimes find it challenging to remain socially active, leading to feelings of loneliness or isolation at home. Companion care can provide friendship, transportation, emotional support, and fun! It’s always rewarding to hear about the friendships and strong bonds formed between our private carers and clients and the adventures they get up to! Whatever care option your parent has, there will be elements of companionship which is certainly very positive.


4. Housekeeping & Household Management: Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want someone living in to take care of the laundry, the cleaning and cook us a lovely meal – sign me up! Seriously though, keeping up with household chores and maintaining the home can become more of a struggle as parent’s age and let’s face it, as we get older, we are just more pooped! Sadly domiciliary/Hourly Carers tend to be on tight timelines which is understandable as they must fly from home-to-home so don’t usually have time for housework but another huge benefit of having a Live-in Carer is that he/she will help with cooking, cleaning, and other domestic tasks. Some of our private carers have the time to treat their clients too so enjoy picking fresh flowers from the garden to brighten up their client’s day, we love this kind touch!


Ok, Let’s go for a quick recap here on how to approach the Home Carer Conversation with Our Parents


1. Choose the Right Time and Place for you: Some people may suit a quiet, comfortable, and private setting for the conversation, others a rowdy pub for a more casual chat. Either way make sure you have ample time to discuss the topic, even if you have a few chats. Make sure both you and your parents are comfortable and turn it into a positive that suits you, and importantly them. Set a date for afternoon tea, Sunday lunch, a shopping trip with Mum with a lunch – whatever works for you.


2. Reiterate why you wanted the chat: So, you can carry out their wishes and be sure you know what is most important to them.


3. Listen Actively: Remember, this is their life, their decision, and their wishes not ours however much we think we know better than them, we don’t. They are our parents; our job now is to help them achieve their wishes not tell them what we think is right for them. Of course, there are those that will think ‘mental capacity here’ for the avoidance of doubt here I’m not talking down that route – that’s a whole other blog for another day. Encourage your parents to share their thoughts, concerns, and preferences, it’s important that they know they are being listened to. Active listening shows that you respect their autonomy and opinions, and even if you are finding it hard to agree – try phrases like, I will absolutely help research that to see if it’s a go-er! etc


4. Be Patient: Understand that your parents may need time to process the information and come to terms with the idea of Live-in Care. Avoid rushing the conversation. We understand that you are more than likely juggling a frantic work schedule, chauffeuring children to many schooling and hobby commitments, running your own home and ticking off the never-ending chores while simultaneously caring for your elderly parents. Phew. This is where we come in, let us help talk things through. We offer a no obligation phone consultation, taking the time to find out what’s important to you and to your parents. No pressure, no rush, just friendly and impartial advice, to share our 30 years of Live-in Care wisdom!


5. Use "I" Statements: Frame your statements using "I" rather than "you." For example, say, "I worry about your safety when you're alone" instead of "You can't be alone anymore." This can be applied to many situations; in fact, we use this positive and personal tone in the office too! We strongly believe that taking responsibility by using a personal touch is the best approach to ensuring we always deliver the highest quality of private care.


6. Shout About the Many Benefits: Emphasise the many positive aspects of arranging help when the time comes. Live-in Care, providing increased safety, companionship, improved quality of life, friendship and fun can only be a plus right! The list is never-ending and is individual to everyone’s specific needs. We, at Access Care, believe that it’s important to find out what is important to you and to your parents, we will then match make the perfect home carer to ensure they are the best fit!


Understandably your parent/s may be anxious about this change so Addressing Concerns and Objections is important. To combat these worries, here’s some answers to some of the questions we are asked and the objections to care that we hear from those trying present the notion of live-in care.


Since 1994 (It’s our 30th anniversary in 2023) we have answered every possible question regarding Live-in Care. Trust us, between our experienced team members there is no home carer query we don’t know the answer too! We understand that everyone’s concerns are individual to them, no Live-in Care journey is the same.


Some of the most common questions/objections to the idea we hear are:


1. Do we get to choose the Carer?

Absolutely you do. This is your choice, and you must be comfortable with the person that will be living with you in your home. The agency will send a few profiles of people they have matched to your wishes, and you choose from those or ask to see more.


2. What if I don’t like the Carer once they arrive?

Not a problem, we ask him/her to leave and ask the agency to look for more for us to choose form.


3. Can we try it for a week and see how we get on?

Absolutely, why not just give it a go – if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work but it’s worth a shot. You can book a Carer for just one week at a time and maybe if it’s not something you think you need full-time at the moment, we can just book weeks here and there when you are feeling exhausted or poorly, but by registering with the agency we will have that option.


4. I don’t need a Carer!

I hear you and I understand that. How about trying a housekeeper to take care of the home so you can look after Dad (NB this is an example – we have helped many a family arrange care through ‘selling’ the idea to a parent that the care, although be it trained to care, is coming to be a housekeeper. Once settled in parents tend to quickly develop their relationship with their Carer and they become comfortable with him/her providing care too).


5. Will the Carer always be around?

This is your care, your way! We can work with the agency and your Carer to develop what works for you. If you’d like to eat as a couple in the evening, the Carer will happily cook (if you want him/her to) and retire to her room so you can be together. Basically, the carer can be available to you, and you wish and will appear/disappear to suit you.


6. We can’t afford it; how much is Live-in Care?

Is it just me or do our parents (therefore we will probably too) become more frugal as they age, everything is expensive and so we must turn off all the lights and heating and shiver in the dark! Aha, I shouldn’t joke but I know some of you will empathise. So to help with this one and of course only you as a family know about your finances, but assuming you do have the money…… Live-in care represents excellent value for money and is the perfect way for you to remain living in your home safely for as long as you wish.

For readers of this Blog - It is approximately £1300 per week which is about the same as the local care home (if indeed it is where you live) and gazumps a care home hands done through the one-to-one personal service provided as and when required and desired.

Find out more here.


7. What does a Live-in Carer Do?

Within reason, what you need them to do. A Live-in Carers duties are dependent on the physical, social, and emotional needs of his/her client. The primary objective of a Live-in Carer is to enable a person to remain living in their own home with the support they require to do so. From companionship & housekeeping to advanced & end of life care, there is a qualified Live-in Carer for every client.


8. What if I don’t need a Carer all the time?

No problem at all, let’s just get registered and find an agency we can worth with then if we need a Carer for any of the below we know where to go:



Let’s start the next chapter!


Once your parents are open to the idea of Live-in Care, it's time to plan and implement the necessary steps. Register with an agency (our preferably – ah that’s that sense of humour again, forgive me). We strongly believe that organising a Live-in Carer should be a positive experience for our clients and the start of a wonderful new chapter in the lives of our clients and their families. Arranging a Live-in Carer will ensure you can rest-easy knowing that your parents/other family members that once looked after you so well, are now, indeed being looked after.


Our job here at the office is to find the best of the best carers for your parents and present them for their selection. Our quality Live-in Carers know that no one-size fits all and they develop their service to perfectly suit their client and their family, whether working alone or alongside other household staff, domiciliary Carers and other healthcare professionals (e.g. GP, Community Nurses). Discover more here


We promise to provide you with true peace of mind by arranging the finest Live-in Carers to care for your loved one in their own home.


We are here to make sure the process of arranging 24hr care at home is:

  • A positive experience.

  • Quick and Easy, or slow and calm as your individual situation, needs and wishes dictate.

  • Arranged with understanding and empathy.

  • Tailored to you personally using our years of specialist expertise and knowledge of the live-in care at home industry.



Conclusion


Having a conversation about Live-in Care with your parents is an important and positive step in ensuring their well-being as they age. Approach the discussion with empathy, patience, and focus on their needs, preferences and what is important to them.


Exploring options and planning for the future together, can make the transition to Live-in Care as smooth and comfortable as possible. Ultimately, the goal is to provide the care and support that allows your parents to enjoy a fulfilling and positive next chapter in their life.


Talking to your parents about care isn’t something you should wait for, it’s good to be prepared and plan for the future together. Providing peace of mind for the whole family by arranging the finest, qualified Live-in Carers for people in their own homes can be life changing!


I hope that’s helped a little. When I write, I always try to keep it simple – I digress and waffle admittedly, but I’ve been told my personality is in my writing to – and I hope I’ve helped in some small way to show you that this chat can be a positive one – my top tip – Don’t delay, start the chat today! That way when the time comes you can just pop out the list you made and set wheels in motion to make it happen – remember we are at the end of the phone any time to help you too (even if you are not our client- yet!!)


We can help guide you through the process of arranging Live-in Care, and are happy to give free advice to anyone who calls on any aspect of care – after all, sharing is literally caring! Call us today on 01264 319 399 or email hello@access-care.co.uk and start the conversation.


Tiggy

CEO – Access Care

4 Comments


Unknown member
Oct 16, 2023

Glad you are all finding it useful. I think somehow, we have been conditioned to think this 'should' be an awkward chat, but I really feel we should change the narrative as it is so important.

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Guest
Oct 16, 2023

Useful information on talking to your parents about their wishes and needs as they get older!

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Guest
Oct 16, 2023

Really beneficial information here for making the decision of Live In Care for your parents!

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Guest
Oct 13, 2023

Really informative blog about broaching the subject of Live-in care with elderly parents, thank you.

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