We understand that this past holiday season has been abnormal. Australian families may or may not have been able to travel to spend time with loved ones due to the Coronavirus pandemic. But whether you were able to see your ageing loved ones, or not, they still need our attention.
Have you had the conversation yet this year?
As our parents age, they can unfortunately begin to decline in mental and/or physical health and well-being. During the holidays, you may have had time to stop and recognise this decline. It is not easy to discuss the ailing mental or physical health of our parents. They may resist your suggestions; they may not feel that they need to change anything in their daily lives.
But by being proactive and starting plan-for-the-future conversations, you will help prevent your loved ones from being caught off-guard when a health, financial or legal issue occurs. The trick to these conversations is engaging without fear or alienation.
Simple Steps to Communicating Well
Fortunately, a team of home care professionals has already anticipated roadblocks and reservations about the conversation covering health, finance and legal needs of older relatives.
Right at Home’s practical RightConversations Guide offers families tools and pointers for talking through relatives’ options. The solutions-driven guide helps resolve communication gaps and conflicts between seniors and their family caregivers as they discuss how to design a care strategy that works for everyone.
The following steps from the RightConversations materials are easy to understand and put into practice.
Step 1: Gather the important information
The RightConversations Information Journal is a practical starting point to assist families in collecting the pertinent details about a loved one’s health, doctors, family history, finances, insurance and other personal information. The Information Journal includes streamlined forms to keep all the relevant information in one place.
Because your parent’s health may be in flux, it is essential to document facts about their current condition and medical care. The following suggestions in the information-gathering stage can help with wise choices moving forward:
- Make a note of what you see occurring. Do you notice your loved one can no longer perform specific tasks?
- Listen to your inner voice. That internal messenger could be telling you something is not quite right with your loved one or their condition is changing.
- Accompany your ageing relative to doctor appointments so you hear information firsthand and can get a true picture of your loved one’s condition.
- Ask about medications. You can obtain information about the loved one’s medications and their adverse effects from a physician, pharmacy, library or the Internet. Problems arise when medications expire, are the wrong dose or the wrong prescription.
Step 2: Organize tasks that need to be delegated to family members or service providers
The RightConversations Family Action Planner documents the actions each family member will take to better support their loved one and includes an area for contact information of those who may assist in the care of the senior. Listing these to-dos helps keep a record for all parties involved.
Step 3: Unexpected hospitalisation plan
A fall, the flu, a disease flare-up — any number of illnesses or medical crises can lead to a loved one being admitted to the hospital. Later, as the patient prepares to be discharged, questions and concerns can arise about what is to happen when your loved one returns home. A pioneer in hospital-to-home care transitions for seniors, Right at Home launched RightTransitions in 2010 to provide care and support to patients during their transition from the hospital or other care facility back home. The RightTransitions at-home care for older adults and adults with disabilities features a full range of options, including personal care, health reminders, meal preparation, transportation to appointments and communication with the family.
When it comes to ageing well, open communication among loved ones is paramount. Sometimes it can be challenging for family members to have conversations with an ageing relative who may fear losing their health and independence. But taking the initiative to talk with honesty and compassion can really strengthen family relationships for the seasons to come.
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Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care, and assistance to seniors (elderly and aged care), and any adult who needs our care at home including adults living with a disability who want to continue to live independently or age in their home. Right at Home is your local expert for issues related to caring for your loved ones and is dedicated to keeping you informed about home care. With no admin or subscription fees Right at Home allows you to get more care from your package or budget.
Right at Home is a 'My Aged Care' government approved, home care provider for levels 1 – 4 and offers flexible in-home care services such as nursing care, after hospital care, post-operative care, respite care, dementia and Alzheimer's care. Right at Home also offers personal care such as grooming and hygiene, and assistance with daily living such as transport, shopping, meal prep, domestic services and social support, so your loved one can enjoy a more independent, vibrant life. Our nurses and caregivers are screened, highly trained, and insured prior to entering your home so you can trust us with the caregiving while you focus on your loved one.
To find out more, please give us a call on 1300 363 802 or visit our website.
Right at Home Offices in Australia: Sydney Lower North Shore; Sydney Upper North Shore; Sydney Central and Eastern Suburbs; Sydney Northern Beaches; Sydney North West; Sydney The Hills; Padstow St George; Macarthur Penrith; Newcastle; Hunter & Port Stephens; Southern NSW; Toowoomba- Darling Downs; Sunshine Coast and Gympie; Mackay; Central Queensland; Townsville; Far North Queensland; Gold Coast South; Gold Coast North; Northern Rivers; Brisbane Bayside; Brisbane South; Brisbane North; Brisbane West; Perth Midland; Perth Northern Suburbs; Perth West Coast: Kalgoorlie Wheatbelt; Moreton Bay Region;