Hiring at-home care for your loved one with dementia is no easy choice. Once you’ve made the decision, it’s time to discuss what’s going to be happening with your parent or loved one.
Having the Conversation
Before the in-home care begins, you’ll need to discuss this with your loved one. Generally, when addressing the topic of in-home care, it is best to be honest and open about why you believe these services are needed. Unless you believe your loved one with dementia will react strongly to the idea of in-home assistance, you should be straightforward with them about the benefits of this type of care.
One approach in presenting the idea to a loved one is to stress that you or other loved ones who have been providing care to the person with dementia really need support and help beyond what you and your fellow loved ones are able to provide. Often, individuals with dementia, particularly earlier in the disease, can relate to the concept of caregiver burnout and stress and understand that the worst possible scenario is for them to be a burden on anyone, particularly those they love.
It is also important to stress the advantages of having someone in the home who can handle all the chores (e.g. housework and cooking of meals) as well as take the individual to places he/she likes to go such as a favorite restaurant or other public place which would be harder to get to otherwise.
If for any reason you believe your loved one will react strongly to the idea of someone unknown to them spending a significant part of the day and/or night with them, stressing the housekeeping component can be helpful provided that limited personal care is required. That is, treating the relationship more along the lines of a daily housekeeper assisting with the needs of the home as opposed to someone present who is primarily focused on taking care of them personally.
In these situations, it may also be important to stress the goal of keeping the person with dementia in his/her own home as long as possible and that this level of care will assist them in achieving that goal. Even if they are against the idea, when presented with the alternative of moving to an assisted living facility, the benefits of at-home care will shine through.
Deciding on Initial Level of Involvement
In-home memory care is a great way to initially expose the person with dementia to having someone provide care to them who is not a loved one or familiar face. In many situations, if the individual does not require extensive care, a shorter schedule of hours and days (e.g. six hours a day, three days a week) can be started by the family to best acclimate the person to this new arrangement.
If family members can arrange to be present for at least part of the time during the first week or so of the relationship this can be helpful. In some situations, however, it may be better for the family members to have more limited exposure to their loved one during this initial caregiving period to allow the caregiver to bond with him/her. It is really up to each family to use their discretion as to what is best in this situation.
If you have more questions about having the conversation about at-home care with your parent, schedule a free 30-minute session with our Expert on Memory Care.