ASK PETER: All You Would Like to Know About Senior Care, Dementia, and Alzheimer's Care

How to Start the Conversation? (part 2)

By Peter DiMaria

Earlier this week we talked about how difficult it can be to tell a loved person that they need help. But it doesn’t have to be that way. That’s why Home Helpers published the booklet “8 Ways to Start the Conversation”, to help you through this process (if interested, you may call us to get a free copy: 860.698.2244).

With a little thought and preparation, any family can start an open and honest dialog that can lead to a plan for the future that everybody agrees to and understands. The goal is to have your loved ones cared for while reducing the burden on your busy family.

One way not to start the conversation is by suggesting or affirming that they need help. By doing so, we put them on the defensive right from the beginning and escalating to an unnecessary confrontation.

Alternatively, we start by asking questions. But not just a series of yes-or-no choices: real questions about what your loved one enjoys doing and how they can keep as much of that treasured control and independence for as long as possible. This is not a step by step guide. It is rather a series of ideas that you can use as the conversation evolves.

My first suggestion is that you ask if there is anything around the house they need help with. This line of discussion can help identify any immediate needs. Are certain tasks becoming more challenging? Is your loved one finding it difficult to operate or maintain anything in the home? Are their senses, balance, and stamina where they’d like them to be?

Another interesting line of questioning would be to ask them if the fridge, oven, range, dishwasher and other kitchen utilities are working properly. Ask, for example: When was the last time you used them? What did you cook?

In this way, you will be able to assess whether a senior is still getting proper nutrition. And if there are obstacles to a consistent and healthful diet.

There is not a “one size fits all” way of doing this. But if you ask open questions about their activities of daily living and how they have been dealing with them, you will be able to start a productive, helpful dialogue. You will be helping them to figure out by themselves how much do they need if any.

Our guide “8 ways to start the conversation” has other tips on subjects you may use to help you and your loved ones to realize how much help you need if any.

Call our Home Helpers Home Care offices in Enfield-CT or East Longmeadow-MA and we will send you a free copy of our guide “8 ways to start the conversation”!

CT: (860) 698-2244

MA: (413) 224-1045