Discussing aged care options with loved ones can be confronting, confusing and emotional – particularly when they’re reluctant to participate in the conversation.
At Aged Care Decisions, we understand the complexity of these tough discussions and the choices that need to be made. It’s why we do what we do – support and empower families throughout their aged care decision-making process.
So why, when, and how should you initiate conversations about aged care?
Here is some information and advice to help you prepare:
What are the signs my loved one may need aged care?
If your loved one can no longer take care of themselves at home without regular support, and you are unable to help them with general daily living, then it may be time to think about starting the conversation about aged care.
Some common indicators that a loved one may require at home support, or supported living:
Age – from the age of 65, Australian seniors may be eligible for government-subsidised aged care.
Physical and mental health – some examples of declining health may include difficulty moving around (causing a higher risk of falling), incontinence problems, wandering behaviour or difficulties with memory and communication.
Ability to care for themselves – if your loved one is starting to struggle with household chores, cooking, shopping, and self-care they may benefit from some in-home support or a transition to residential aged care.
What types of care are available?
Would your loved one benefit from home care services, respite care or a move into a nursing home or aged care facility?
The aged care industry is jam-packed with acronyms and confusing terminology. This easy-to-read article will walk you through the basics, without the waffle:
The importance of preparation.
Aged care conversations aren’t easy, but it’s a great idea to get discussions started early. Many families find themselves needing to make decisions quickly – and with limited information – after a loved one has a fall, medical episode or hospital stay.
Making time to gather information and coordinate family members who will be involved in the discussions can lead to calmer, more considered conversations with much more productive outcomes.
It may be beneficial to allocate a family member to be the primary representative of your loved one. This person can fill in forms, have the important phone discussions and take your loved one to face to face appointments. They may take on the role of Power of Attorney or Enduring Guardian. Read more about these processes here:
Aged Care Decisions can assist you at every stage of your aged care journey. We assist tens of thousands of families every month to navigate residential aged care, respite care and home care.
Click here to find out more about our FREE, FAST, and INDEPENDENT aged care matching service.
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Questions to ask your loved one to get the conversation started.
Aged care can be a sensitive topic and it’s important that all parties are heard and understood effectively.
Find a time and place that your loved one will feel comfortable and give them time to think about the topic beforehand, so they don’t feel ambushed.
Here are some suggested questions to help you understand and respect your loved one’s thoughts and/or concerns:
- What do you think we should do if you get to an age where you can’t look after yourself anymore?
- Do you see yourself ever moving into an aged care facility? At what stage do you think you may need to go to an aged care facility?
- Does anything worry you about going to an aged care facility?
- How can we support you in making this decision?
Aged care conversations can cause a shift in relationship dynamics as children are placed in a ‘carer’ role. Open, honest discussions can reduce a loved one’s anxiety about potentially losing independence and can help them embrace the transition into this next stage of their lives.
What do I do if my loved one needs urgent care?
In many cases, the timing of this discussion may be completely out of your control. Every situation is different but it’s very common for circumstances to change without notice.
If medical or mobility needs suddenly change, you may be left with no choice other than to find urgent care for your loved one. This can unfortunately put you and your family into a high stress ‘crisis’ mode.
These are usually the most difficult conversations because they are held under a great deal of pressure and stress. It’s especially more difficult when the family hasn’t considered aged care options previously and is being exposed to the world of aged care for the first time. Overwhelming is an understatement.
Starting the conversation early means you can receive support from a range of services such as health care workers, social workers, government staff, aged care facility staff and aged care placement services.
This is where Aged Care Decisions can assist.
Our custom-built software together with our Placement Specialists can match your location, budget, care needs and personal preferences with providers that suit your specific needs.
Our service is 100% FREE, 100% independent, and 100% personal.
We do the running around for you, with less stress and hassle, and at ZERO cost to you.