How to start the conversation about aged care with mum or dad

How to start the conversation about aged care with mum or dad

For those with ageing parents, it is common for the child to experience role reversal. Soon it is the daughter or son who is checking in on mum or dad, concerned for their welfare and starting difficult conversations about their parents’ care needs.

If you have an ageing parent, you will likely need to start the conversation about the aged care process at some point. Ageing is a natural part of life and it is best to start the conversation sooner, rather than later.

Aged care expert and My Care Path CEO Dana Sawyer, explains how to introduce the aged care conversation, ensure your loved one’s wishes are respected and when to turn to an expert for advice.

To begin the conversation, do NOT ask ‘Do you want to go into aged care?’ – the answer is likely going to be no.

It’s natural for people to have reservations about the ageing process and aged care system, particularly if they don’t understand it and haven’t experienced it before.

The truth is, no one wants to go into aged care – at least initially, and it’s important that we remember aged care is a voluntary system that no one can be forced into.

However, if you have concerns about the wellbeing of your ageing parent and know aged care may be needed now or in the near future, here are some better questions to ask:

  • How are you going at home Mum?
  • Are you coping with the gardening and cleaning Dad?
  • Are you feeling lonely since Mum passed away?
  • Do you have a lot of visitors? Or have a neighbour who pops in regularly?
  • Would you like some help with the housework?
  • What do you think of the idea of being a part of more of a tight-knit community?

These questions will help to naturally elicit how your parent is really coping at home and also may make them more receptive to the aged care help that is out there.

Find out what your options are sooner, rather than later

If you’re seeing signs your mum or dad may need aged care soon, find out what your options are before you need them.

The best way to find out your options, is to speak with an independent aged care consultant who can give you tailored, independent advice.

There will be a plethora of options depending on your parent’s physical health, cognitive health, social networks, finances, ethnic and cultural background and more.

You can also discuss with a consultant what happens in an emergency situation. Mum may be living independently now, but if she has a fall and is admitted into hospital – you may need to make a decision about aged care within a few days.

An aged care consultant can provide options for immediate care as well as potential future care.

Once you have all of the information, you may find it easier to begin that conversation with your parent.

Get in touch with a My Care Path aged care consultant here.

Remember – the ageing process is natural and you don’t need to feel guilty about that

Most of us will hopefully live to an old age, which means the majority of us will need aged care at some point in our lives. For the loved ones around an elderly person, it’s common to experience feelings of guilt about ‘placing mum or dad into aged care.’

The strange thing is we often talk about the health benefits of communal living, so why does that not apply to our elderly? Loneliness is one of the most chronic health issues the elderly face, with the Federal Government committing $10 million to combat the issue in the lead up to the election.

We must remember that aged care doesn’t need to be scary if we can demystify it and understand we all have a real choice in aged care.

Further Resources

Advanced Care Planning Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that provides resources about planning for future care needs.

The website has a section dedicated to family, friends and carers with useful information.

Aged Care Online is Australia’s most comprehensive online directory for aged care providers, including home care, residential, respite, retirement living and more. The directory makes it easy for you to get an understanding of the aged care services in your area.

My Care Path aged care consultants. We are an independent, aged care advisory service with more than 10 years’ experience in the industry. Our consultants are available nationwide.

What does the Federal Election mean for aged care?

Can families expect more investment into services that will help care for our elderly as they age?

Aged care expert and My Care Path consultant Dana Sawyer breaks down what the Coalition win will mean for people entering aged care.

The Federal Election delivered a surprising win for the Coalition, with the party comfortable forming a majority government.

While the government didn’t make sweeping reforms and big promises for the aged care sector in the lead up to the election, likely due to the ongoing Aged Care Royal Commission, there were a number of pre-election commitments made by the LNP.

The government is promising more measures to address senior loneliness, best practice research into aged care, help for seniors from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and additional aged care workers.

$10m to combat Senior Loneliness  

I often come across clients who feel very guilty about placing their mum or dad into aged care. While this is completely understandable, we sometimes forget that residential aged care can help combat senior loneliness.

If an elderly person is unable to get out and about easily, doesn’t have a strong neighbour network or has family living interstate – the health effects of loneliness can be profound.

The good news is that the government has committed an additional $10 million to expand the Community Visitors Scheme for aged care and home care residents.

The Community Visitors Scheme is a program where volunteers build a friendship with an elderly person, either in their own home or in an aged care facility.

$10m to help Seniors from Diverse Cultural Backgrounds

Australia’s multi-cultural landscape means many families speak a language other than English at home.

When an elderly person speaks English as a second language, or has limited English skills, they are less likely to access the aged care services they need due to language barriers.

The Coalition has committed to an additional $7.4 million for the Aged Care Systems Navigator program, which will include Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD)- specific program that will include:

  • A dedicated community and online information hub
  • Specially trained advisors offering one-on-one support to seniors and their families

More Aged Care Workers

The government has made it a priority for there to be 475,000 aged care workers in Australia by 2025.

The aged care sector is being given first priority in a program under the government’s Skills Service Organisations package to support future job growth.

The government will also commit $34 million to establish a research centre that examines new ways to deliver care for seniors, as well as best practice methods for training and educating aged care providers.

Overall, it’s promising to see more funding dedicated to help our culturally-diverse community as well as a commitment to combat the very serious problem of loneliness.

The aged care industry will continue to grow, so investing in more jobs for the sector and best-practice training and education should be a top priority.

The final result of the Aged Care Royal Commission will likely lead to more reforms in the aged care sector, which will hopefully lead to even better incomes for our elderly and their families.