As we age, our needs change, often becoming more complex the older we get. An ageing relative might suddenly find that they need help with tasks that they previously managed alone. When this happens, many elderly Australians choose to receive in-home care to ensure they maintain their independence at home longer. However, when individual care needs reach a certain level of complexity, an aged care facility often becomes the best way to meet those needs.
Unfortunately, family members can face strong resistance to the idea of an aged care home from their ageing loved ones. This presents emotional challenges for everyone, which can feel impossible to overcome. But, with the right approach, your loved one may see the opportunities that an aged care facility offers and be more open to discussing this option.
What causes resistance to care?
When a loved one’s care needs change, it is often related to loss: the loss of a spouse, physical loss or mental loss. Any type of loss is an unwelcome change, which can trigger resistance to other significant changes, like moving into an aged care home.
As an ageing loved one becomes aware of their changing needs, they often fear the loss of their independence. This can also cause resistance to any type of help, especially the idea of giving up their home and transitioning into an aged care facility.
Recognising the right time to transition into an aged care home
It can be hard to know when the time is right for transitioning into an aged care home, especially when an elderly loved one is resistant to the idea. With the right care and support, seniors can benefit from staying in their own home longer. However, once a loved one begins facing certain challenges, it’s often safer for them to move into an aged care home where they can receive 24/7 care. The move can also help lighten the burden and preserve relationships between elderly loved ones and the family members who care for them.
Here are some signs that a loved one might benefit from transitioning into an aged care facility:
- Memory loss and forgetfulness
- Chronic disease management
- Isolation and loneliness
- Home care is insufficient
Memory loss and forgetfulness
Everyone forgets things on occasion, especially as we age. Forgetfulness itself does not necessarily indicate that a loved one needs extra help. However, when loved ones begin to forget vital things, like taking their medication, turning off the stove, eating regular meals and locking up the house, then their safety is at risk. When this happens, transitioning into an aged care home helps to ensure a loved one’s health and safety.
Chronic disease management
If a loved one has a chronic disease that requires management, it’s important that they are able to manage this themselves or receive the care they need from in-home support. When this becomes too difficult independently or in the home environment, it may be time to transition into an aged care home.
Completion of daily tasks, like personal care, cleaning, cooking, paying bills, shopping and personal hygiene, are vital for living a quality life at home. Home care can often help with these tasks, but aged care facilities offer straightforward care that removes stress related to these tasks. It’s usually a good time to transition into an aged care home when loved ones are fatigued and unable to regularly complete these tasks.
Isolation and loneliness
Ageing at home can often feel lonely, especially when loved ones previously had an active social life. If a loved one’s time outside the home drastically reduces and they become more isolated, it may be a good time to chat to them about the benefits of an aged care facility. They will be able to widen their social circle and participate in activities with their peers.
Home care may not be enough
Home care provides many seniors with the opportunity to stay at home and maintain their independence. However, at times, it is insufficient to meet the unique care needs of a loved one. In these instances, an aged care facility can provide everything a loved one needs, while keeping them healthy and safe.
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What’s the best way to approach a loved one about the need for additional care?
Before starting a discussion about aged care, it’s important to determine what help is needed. What would be the best care for your loved one and why? Choosing the right time is also important. You should aim to start the discussion gently and positively when both you and your loved one are relaxed. This might change, depending on how the discussion goes, but you have the best chance of success if it starts in the right way.
The final, most important, step is to ask your loved one for their opinion and preferences. No one likes to be told what to do, especially after a lifetime of making their own choices. The more a loved one can be involved in the decision-making process, the better. This is not always possible, due to a decline in mental capacity, for example. In these cases, you can find small ways to ensure loved ones feel included, like giving them small decisions to make, while you make the bigger decisions.
If the discussion doesn’t go as you plan, you can ask other family members and friends to help or try again another time until you are successful.
Our handy guide to when seniors say ‘no’ can help you navigate the aged care journey with your loved one.
What are the options that need to be considered?
If you and your loved one are at the beginning of the aged care journey, there are plenty of options to consider. Home care is often the first option people look at because it allows seniors to stay in their own home longer.
Another option is respite care, which is short-term care that gives regular carers a break, while giving seniors the opportunity to experience life at the aged care facility. This is often a great option for trialing aged care before committing to it long-term.
An aged care facility is an option that offers care for residents with varying needs. Whether your loved one has basic or complex care needs, an aged care home is able to provide the right care for them. An added benefit is that loved ones can form relationships with peers and carers.
What are the most effective strategies for manageing resistance to care?
Moving into an aged care home is a big change, no matter how open someone is to the idea. But there are strategies you can use to help your loved one see the benefits of this option and more welcoming of the change.
Organise a trial run
Organising a trial run via respite care in an aged care home is a great way for seniors to see what it’s like.
The Aged Care Decisions team can help you find the right aged care home for your loved one. Get in touch with one of our aged care experts to take advantage of our free service. Simply complete the online form or call 1300 775 870.
It’s safe to say that transitioning into aged care is not always a positive experience. Your loved one might have friends that had a negative experience and be anxious about going through something similar. However, you can explain to your loved one that not everyone’s experience will be the same, and aged care facilities have plenty of benefits. So be sure to focus on these, while also addressing any of your loved one’s concerns. You could mention the:
- Sense of community at an aged care home
- Expert nursing and support staff on hand
- Social opportunities available
- Enjoyable activities on offer.
Research and discuss cost
The cost of aged care can cause stress, anxiety and hesitancy in loved ones, especially if they are not aware of how it works. Everyone’s position is different, so it’s important to determine the cost based on your loved one’s financial situation.
Aged Care Decisions can guide you to the right resources to help you determine the cost of an aged care home for your loved one. Complete our online form and we will be in touch to support you through the journey.
Discuss your own needs
A care situation is two-sided (or more), so it’s important that everyone can communicate their own needs and be heard. It’s okay to share your feelings and encourage a loved one to accept care if it becomes too much for you to manage alone. If you are both willing to make compromises to find the best option for both of you, you will have a higher chance of success.
Aged Care Decisions are passionate about helping you and your loved one to find the best aged care option for you. We offer a completely free service and are available when you need assistance. Simply call us on 1300 775 870 or fill out our simple online form.