When the time comes to consider a care home for someone you love or is important to you, it is natural to feel apprehensive about discussing the transition. Instinctively you may prefer to avoid talking about moving away from home until it has to happen. Rather than wait for an emergency, it is usually wiser and kinder to be prepared in good time. Think of it as just a new chapter in yours and their life. Here are some helpful hints we’ve learned from our long experience in caring and nursing our residents.
Do your research. Does your relative, friend or prospective resident need help with dressing? Need help in the bathroom? Need help taking medication on time? Are they eating and drinking well and sufficiently? Do they have companions? Do they regularly take part in active mental, physical and spiritual activities? When you have the answers to these questions you will better understand what level of care they might need. You will be in a good position to make a wise choice.
Learn the difference between Assisted Living, Nursing Care, Dementia Care, Palliative Care, End of Life Care, Respite Care, and Day Care are all different services that offer various care levels. Knowing the difference between each will help you explain it clearly to the person concerned.
Understand the financial options. Harwood House’s weekly charge is all-inclusive and covers all services, accommodation, food and utilities so you know where you stand. Some homes charge like a hotel so that food, services, medical care are charged as used. This is often considerably more expensive in the long run. Funding may be available for social care and nursing care.
By asking “how would I feel?” puts you in their shoes. It will help you understand the fears they may have.
Choose your words carefully by talking of “assisted living” and “care community” rather than “nursing home” and “facility.”
Avoid the “us v them” mentality. Let them feel they are part of the decision by showing them the Harwood House website, DVD, brochure and or Facebook page. They might like to know that they can bring their pet and favourite pieces of furniture.
Respect their wishes and try to make the transition as seamless as possible. We will do all we can to help you in doing so and them in settling in.
Be willing to involve others in the decision
If possible include an unbiased third party into the conversation. A doctor, partner, or close friend can help in the discussion and give confidence.
As family tension can add stress to the process get your siblings on board if possible before approaching your parent and aim for a general agreement on the best way forward.
Don’t be surprised if you face some resistance
You may not come to a decision after one conversation. Give the prospective resident plenty of time to sit with the idea of getting some assistance or moving home.
It’s likely to be an ongoing conversation. Set aside a time to revisit the topic after your initial conversation and continue to approach the subject with sensitivity, perhaps following some of the hints above.