If you think Mum or Dad would benefit from having a private professional carer to help them out, but you’re anxious about how to start talking about care with them, then we can help. Read our advice on how to start and manage challenging conversations about live-in care.

The thought of needing a carer can be daunting for many people. For many, the idea of care brings thoughts of burdening family and signals the loss of their independence. This doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re discussing the prospect of care with a friend or family member, you should make sure these fears are alleviated by carefully explaining the situation and the solutions you’re hoping to provide.

Follow through the steps in this guide to having positive, caring conversations with your family. You’ll find out:

  • How to bring the topic of care up in conversation
  • The ways your loved one might respond, and how to manage your reply
  • Tips on approaching challenging conversations about care
  • What to say to bring the conversation to a healthy, positive close

How to bring the topic of care up in conversation

The hardest part can be knowing how to start talking about care. There are a few things you could ask yourself, and think about, to help create the right environment to start the conversation in the right manner.

Can you ask anyone for moral support?

Talking about end of life care, or any type of care, with your loved one can be an emotional conversation for both of you. Why not ask a close friend or another family member to join you, for moral support?

If you think this would help, keep in mind that your loved one might feel a little intimidated. So, it’s important to make sure they know that you’re on their side and have their best interests at heart.

When is best to talk?

If you’re apprehensive or worried that your loved one could show signs of refusing care, have a think about when is best to bring up the conversation because you won’t want to feel rushed, and neither will anyone present.

Have you ever noticed that Mum or Dad’s mindset and mood is particularly positive in the morning, afternoon or evening? If so, consider what time of day you chat to them. If you can, it’s best to approach the subject when they’re in the right frame of mind because this can help to make it easier for you and them together.

Can you show your loved one any information about care?

It depends on how the conversation flows, and how your loved one responds, but showing your loved one a pamphlet about how care could work for them may help. Talking about care is the first step but going through a brochure might be a next step that they’re just not ready for yet.

So, remember that your loved one might show signs of feeling intimidated or uninterested. Don’t worry, we’ve provided some more advice on how to handle this later on. Alternatively, it might be that Mum or Dad might want you to walk them through any new information. So, be sure that you’re willing to look at it together.

Have you thought about how you’ll talk?

Sometimes, it’s not what you say. It’s how you say it. It’s natural to feel swallowed up by choosing the right words in difficult conversations. But remember you can show that your intentions are good and loving from your body language and the tone of your voice.

Try to:

  • Smile warmly, sit openly with uncrossed arms and position yourself next to your relative so they feel you’re on their side
  • Talk calmly – there’s no need to rush or come across sternly

The ways your loved one might respond, and how to manage your reply

Once you’ve started talking about care, there are a few ways your loved one might respond. Read on to find out some common responses, and how you can handle their concerns in a positive, healthy way.

“I don’t need a carer”
This can be one of the most common worries. Your relative might be worried that they would lose their independence thinking about the concept of care. Receiving the right care can work in lots of ways.

“A lot of my customers though they would lose their independence if they have a carer. If anything, having a carer means they can stay at home and preserve that independence”. Marion, Senior Carer

Introducing a live-in carer to visit and provide the right level of care can suit some people more than moving into a nursing home. Learn more about the benefits of choosing live in care compared to a nursing home.

Fear of cost – “It’ll be too expensive”
Lots of people worry about the cost of care, and quality care doesn’t have to be a burden on your finances. Understand what your options are when it comes to funding care

Refusing to talk about it – “We don’t need to talk about this yet”
If your loved one is refusing care, it could be that they might not feel comfortable or ready to have ‘the chat’.
Warmly reassure them talking about it is a good, healthy thing that you can do together. Making sure they know you’re with them every step of the way, and that they’re not alone, is key.

“I would advise anyone to talk about it sooner rather than later. The sooner you talk about, the sooner you can identify the problems and plan ahead properly.” Eve Water, Live-in care customer

Asking lots of questions – “How? What happens? What do I need to do?”
Be ready that your loved one might show signs of curiosity. This might happen during the first time you raise the subject, or later down the line. You’ll likely want to be able to reassure your relative.

They might ask:

  • What happens next?”
  • “Do I need to do anything?”
  •  “How will it work?”

If they can see you’re happy to help and deal with the process, they might find it quite comforting and be much more open to the thought of care. For example, at the right time, you could suggest thinking about trialling a live-in carer to see if it would work best for their needs.

“None of us like to admit that we are getting older. Why not suggest trialling home care for a short period of time to see if they are welcome to the idea?” Susan Whittaker, Care Partnership Manager

If they’re asking questions about how the relationship with a new carer will work, that’s natural. With Ivy Palmer, a live-in carer is chosen based on not only the needs of the individual to make sure they get the right specialist care, but we also aim to match the interests of your loved to the carer you choose to hire.

“I find a lot of my customers are quite lonely and they really cheer up when I start with a new customer as they love having a chat” Sarah, Live in Carer

Tips on approaching challenging conversations about care

When you’re talking about end of life care or live-in care with a loved one, we understand how difficult it can be. Here are a few final top tips to remember when you’re having those caring conversations.

  • Be patient – any form of confusion or concerns are completely natural. The process will take time, from talking about care for the first time, to finding the right carer that your loved one connects with.
  • Try to stay calm – having challenging conversations can be emotional. Keeping your loved one’s best interests at heart and in mind is the best way to reflect this in your voice.
  • Reassure them – remind them that you can help as much as they want or need, e.g. you can deal with “all the paperwork” so they don’t need to worry.

What to say to bring the conversation to a heathy, positive close

This might be the first or tenth time you’ve brought the subject of care up with your relative. It can take time to bring your loved one round to the idea, and that’s okay. Once you’ve reached a point where you think wrapping up the conversation is the next step, do so in a comforting, positive way that doesn’t cause distress.
If care is the right option for your loved one, be confident when you finish the conversation. Are you going to contact a live-in carer to find out more for them? You’ll need to make sure you’re all on the same page, and they feel included and loved but not pressured.

Learn more about how live-in care with us can help.