Start the conversation in a relaxed environment
To ensure your loved one doesn’t feel rushed or pressured into making a decision, it is best to try and start the conversation in a relaxed environment.
Flipping through photo albums or remembering past milestones are both great ways to encourage a conversation about a loved one’s life. As they reflect on fond memories and experiences, you may find it easier to begin a conversation about what they would like to see happen in the future.
Ask what they have in mind and really listen to their answers. Let them know they are loved and will always be an important part of your life.
Involve family members and other key people
Family members can have very different expectations for how their loved ones will be cared for. That’s why it is so important to include them in the journey, ideally as early as possible, so that everyone’s thoughts and concerns are heard.
Once you begin the conversation with your loved one, you may be met with some resistance. If so, it can be helpful to enlist the support of other key people in their lives to help explain the benefits of receiving additional care and support. This can be anyone whom they may be more inclined to listen to, from a health professional to a trusted neighbour.
Be their partner, not their parent
When so much is changing, it is important that your loved one feels that they are still in control of their life. Providing your loved one with choices allows them to retain that sense of independence and the feeling that they still have control over their own future. Making important life decisions for them without their consent will hardly ever go well, regardless of how good your intentions are. Doing so could place an unnecessary strain on your relationship and cause them to feel resentful towards you.
Make it clear from the start that you are your loved one’s advocate and that you will support them in every way you can.
Be patient and give them time to process
Be patient – moving into care is a big decision and not one that anyone should feel rushed into. Reassure them that transitioning into a community should not mean giving up what they love. The right care should enhance their lifestyle, not detract from it.
Once you’ve given them the information they need, give them time to honestly think about it and consider their options. The last thing you want to do is make them feel pressured into making a decision.
Experience life in a care community
Once you’ve had the conversation, a good next step might be to start exploring some options to see what’s available for your loved one.
Many aged care providers will allow you to book a tour at their communities. These tours can be a great way to experience daily life at the community and have your questions answered.