It’s no secret that as we age, we have less energy and need extra help here and there. But when you live with Dementia, the level of care needed can quickly increase, especially in the latter stages of a diagnosis.
Dementia is ever prevalent in the UK as close to one million people live with it, and with two-thirds of these are still living at home, it falls to many family members to take on the role of primary caregiver – an estimated 40 million UK citizens will take on some role of caregiving in their lifetime. However, without any prior experience, it can quickly become overwhelming and many start seeking external support from a professional.
We at Country Cousins, leading providers of live-in care, are sharing our best tips on how to respectfully and carefully tell your parents that they need help from a professional carer.
Finding the right time
Before any mention of care, set the tone and mention to them that you’d like to have a quiet talk with them in a familiar and safe setting. Avoid talking about it in a social situation as it might lead to unnecessary embarrassment, and if your parent’s diagnosis is quite severe, they might feel overwhelmed, cry, and need time alone to process what you’re saying to them.
Selling the idea of a live-in carer
A live-in carer will bring endless benefits to your parent and yourself. To ease loved ones into the idea, refer to poignant times they’ve injured themselves or forgotten to eat for days and mention, “a carer would look after all of that for you, nor you or I would ever have to worry”.
Raise the point of should they suffer a fall whilst you’re at work, it could take a while before you get to them. A carer would be there to help straight away or even help to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Your parent has become accustomed to you looking after them and your way of doing things, not to mention that they already know and love you very much. Hiring somebody new to take over can lead to them feeling abandoned and as though they’re a burden on you.
When they voice their concerns or objections regarding a live-in carer, listen to them, don’t talk or shout above, then once they’re done you can calmly and rationally counter back.
If you feel it appropriate, tell them how much you worry about them when you’re not there. There is a good chance that they already know this information but have never heard you say it to them before. Doing so can clear the haze and help them to realize how much they need a carer, not only for their own safety but for your peace of mind too.
What to do if they are adamant about not receiving care
End the conversation by saying you understand them, only wish for the best for them and reassure them that you love them dearly. You aren’t doing this to cause any upset or anger, but rather to look after them in the best way possible.
After some time, mention it again and if they are still adamant about not getting a carer, seek expert advice from a social worker – an experienced, impartial resource. Some doctors are happy to do home visits to assess the priority of your parent receiving care.
If they have come around to the idea but don’t want to jump straight into full-time live-in care, our respite care and companion care services are perfect. On an agreed basis, one of our kind-hearted carers will slowly take over from you by visiting your parent a couple of times a week and initially provide basic care.
At Country Cousins, we offer a four-step care assessment. Over a phone call, we will establish the care you require and to what extent, and understand about you as an individual e.g., your favourite hobbies, interests, any pets you may have. The third and fourth steps involve establishing whether we are the right live-in care agency to support you with your care needs and finally, being perfectly matched to one of our wonderful carers.
Fears over loss of independence
As previously mentioned, your parent knows you and loves you, and throughout your lives together you’ve always helped one another. This means they probably don’t see you as a carer, as you’re doing what people always do for the ones they love. If you aren’t living with the parent you’re caring for, you go home at the end of the day, and your parent is home alone again. They maintain their physical independence because you’re just popping round to check on them and have a catch-up whilst there.
The job of a carer is to put all their focus onto their client and their safety. Reassure your parent it might feel out of the ordinary at first, but no carer is ever there to diminish their independence. All Country Cousin carers support and encourage complete independence and will offer their expert care when it’s needed.
Seeking external help through a carer isn’t something to be ashamed of, but rather something to be embraced and encouraged if the help is needed.