Australians are a stoic lot. We don’t like to ask for help and this trait doesn’t go away as we get older, if anything it’s exaggerated. When you’ve managed to care for yourself and remain independent and confident in your own home, the idea of accepting help can seem like a direct attack on this independence.
How can you help your ageing parents when they don’t want to be helped?
The conversation about needing care must be handled carefully and respectfully. Find a time when your loved one is calm and well and you are free of the distractions of mobile devices and children.
Ask your loved one, what are some of the things that they’re finding difficult. Ask open questions. Talk calmly and prompt them with some of the things you’ve observed. Avoid judgement and make sure they know that the decision about care is theirs to make.
Are your parents relying heavily on family and friends for help?
It’s easier to accept help from family and friends but at some point this can become too much. You may be the one having to step in and help and time with your loved one may be taken up with cleaning, cooking and washing rather than spending quality time over a cuppa or looking through old photo albums.
Time is precious; you don’t want to resent time with your loved one. Getting help for a cherished family member can also take the pressure off other carers so they can enjoy time with the person needing support, not feel like it’s a necessary burden.
Rally supporters and allies
Let’s face it, families can be challenging and not everyone will agree on one course of action. So you need to rally objective professionals who can make recommendations for your loved one based on what’s right for their needs, not anyone else’s interests.
A good place to start is with your loved one’s GP. Your family doctor will see your loved one’s changing care needs and can recommend extra support if needed. Make an appointment with your loved one’s GP and share your concerns. The GP may be able to conduct a home visit to see first-hand the extra support your loved one may need.
Getting help early can avoid your loved one going into an Aged Care Home
If you leave it too late your loved one’s health may decline rapidly so that an Aged Care Home is the only option. Or a sudden incident such as a fall may occur and the right support won’t be in place in order for your loved one to return home after hospital.
Putting support in place early means there’s a greater chance that your loved one can stay safely at home. It also means that they will be familiar with Home Care and can begin to form relationships with carers.
You can start with as little as one hour of care per week and this may simply mean someone to keep them company or to do some of the more physically demanding household tasks such as changing bed linen.
There’s a wait for government subsidies
The Australian government subsidises some of the costs of aged care. Government subsidies exist for Aged Care Homes as well as Home Care. You can apply to access more than $53,000 per year of government subsidies to remain living in your own home. In fact, it’s cheaper for the government if you remain living in your own home than if you go into an Aged Care Home.
Keep in mind that there’s a wait-list to access government subsidies. In some cases this can be around 6 months. You may wish to pay for care in the meantime and this can be a good introduction to the idea of receiving help.
You can start slowly and this way your loved one can experience the benefits of getting some extra support to remain safely at home