woman hugs elderly woman

Bringing up the idea of hiring a home care company for your elderly parents can be difficult and awkward. You want them to be safe, but you don’t want them to get offended or feel like you’re babying them.

Even though it’s a hard conversation to have, it’s also important to take the initiative as soon as you decide they need the extra help. Waiting only leads to emergency situations like injuries or severe illness. Knowing someone is there to help prevent these circumstances, or at least get them the help they need, can provide great comfort to you and your loved ones.

But how do you bring up the topic gently, so they don’t get offended and are open to the idea? Here are 8 simple tips that will help your conversation go easier.

1. Approach them in a comfortable setting.

The best place to have a discussion is in their home. If they are comfortable when the topic is discussed, they will feel less ambushed and defensive. It will also make your loved ones more relaxed, feeling like they can express themselves freely.

2. Give them a chance to express themselves and then listen to what they’re saying.

Don’t simply announce “I’m hiring a nurse to take care of you and that’s the end of it!” Understand that they have been independent for years, and being told by their child or someone close to them that they can’t be on their own can be difficult. Let them express how they feel, including remorse or anger.

3. Stay calm and focused.

Chances are they will get defensive and upset as stated above. While they’re saying how they feel, it’s important that you stay in control of your emotions, so the situation doesn’t get out of hand, potentially harming either party’s feelings. Take deep breaths to cool down before addressing questions or arguments.

4. Sympathize.

Make sure they know you’re doing this because you love them, and you’re worried about their health and safety. Express how sorry you are that this is happening, and be vocal about your love, appreciation and admiration for them. Avoid phrases like “I know how you feel,” because that could only upset them more.

5. Be positive.

By showing them this isn’t a bad thing and highlighting the freedoms they’ll receive because of it, you can make them feel more comfortable with the idea. Don’t down play their feelings, but validate them, then talk about how good this can be. They can have someone to take them to the grocery store, to help them get around the house and to remind them when to take their medications, so they can feel better. Focus on the positive.

6. Take all factors into consideration.

Every situation will be different.  A love one who recently lost a spouse might need more comforting and gentle words. A loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia may get confused or agitated at your request. Assess the situation and your loved one’s possible reaction before you start, so you won’t be caught off guard. Be prepared.

7. If needs be, let them take time to process everything.

Chances are you won’t solve this problem in one sitting; they may want time to think it over before a decision is made, especially if they’re upset. Give them whatever space they need, but don’t let them take advantage of it.  Give yourself and your loved ones a time frame for making a final decision.

8. Practice what you’re going to say ahead of time.

Be ready for the conversation. Know what gentle and comforting words you’re going to say. This can help you not to say something that could make them feel anxious or scared of their future. And to make sure your words are sensitive and sincere, consider practicing your discussion with someone beforehand, preferably someone who knows your loved one well.

By following these tips, the conversation will be more controlled and comfortable.  Always focus on your loved ones’ feelings. Don’t let them think this is a horrible thing you’re doing to them, but something that will help them. And most importantly, show your love and verbally communicate it. Let them know that they are not alone, that you love them deeply and will always be there for them.