Building a Conversation about Changing Needs

The most common scenario that leads people to a personal care service is the concern of a loved one. Adult children or friends may notice something changing and become worried that their dear friend or family member is suffering and in need of help.

A dented car fender, forgetfulness, changes in appearance or heightened anxiety can be alarming. Uncharacteristic behavior may point to urgent concerns and medical follow-up is often the best starting place. Once medical issues are addressed, the remaining limitations present a choiceto get help or carry on. Most of us resist changes in independence so friends and family are faced with the task of pushing for an honest conversation about next steps.

The result can be a tense encounter or even hurt feelings. Our belief at Homecare Choices is that a conversation is built over time. People deserve time to adjust to change and some space to consider new possibilities. We’ve developed some pointers to consider when thinking about how to talk to a loved one about getting help.

Don’t try to squeeze it all into one conversation. In most cases, the concern is likely a symptom of changes that have developed very slowly. Your friend or family member has overcome many problems in the past through courage and perseverance. They may have become accustomed to a certain amount of pain, confusion or anxiety and they’ve learned to live with it. You have a new awareness of their suffering so it feels urgent to you but a gentle exploration is far more likely to be productive than a confrontation.

Concentrate on listening. We are humbled by the wisdom and insights that we gain when listening to the thoughts of someone who is seeing life from a different point of view. Your loved one may well understand their situation and have an inspired perspective that you haven’t considered. It’s good to assume that they do as you begin asking them whether they might consider some extra support.

Look for common ground. You may be able to agree that companionship, help around the house and reminders would be helpful. The challenge may be related to expense or fear of strangers or modesty. Those are fair concerns. Make note of them and validate the feelings of your loved one without trying to convince them too quickly.

Research solutions. Make some calls, read some articles and gather facts. You can always call Homecare Solutions and ask us. We may be able help with more information. The important thing is to show that you’ve listened to the concerns of your friend or family member and looked for ways to move the conversation toward solutions.

Set goals and monitor progress. It’s easy to lose track of the important things when conversation is emotional. Though you may see little progress at first, goals can be achieved over time.

Here are some examples:

  1. Talk about concerns without arguing
  2. Get a medical check-up
  3. Look into pricing
  4. Make some home safety changes
  5. Get a free consultation and see if you like the people involved.

The most important goal is to imagine the possibilities for a better tomorrow and find ways to bring greater quality to life. Be an active listener and keep an open mind. Your loved one is more likely to trust your perspective if you have shown respect for theirs–so build a bridge in your conversation and then gradually invite them to cross over to new possibilities.

Need some help starting a conversation? Download our free Conversation Planning Guide.