Approaching a difficult conversation

Depending on the person you are speaking to can mean a different reaction so we have put together a useful guide to help you approach the difficult conversation around when to ask for help and using a Personal Support Assistant (or carer) at home. 

What is the best way to approach the conversation

The most important things to consider are:

  • Start the conversation as early as you can 
  • Plan what you want to say
  • Do some research
  • Plan for all eventualities

You don’t want to be making rushed decisions on the type of support, or care provider so it will be much easier to approach if you are not facing an emergency or supporting a loved one who is not able to fully understand what’s happening. 

It’s also worthwhile understanding all the options available to you – care or support at home or care homes.  See our article Agency Care v Hub Care which will help.

You may think you know what their reaction will be and tailor your approach to how you think they will receive the message, but it’s always worth making sure you know how to handle the conversation if it goes the opposite way to how you think. It also might surprise you when it comes to having these conversations, so be prepared for your own emotions too come to the surface. 

You may want to approach the conversation by explaining it is an opportunity to have support with domestic tasks or shopping, or even to help prepare a meal.  These options may feel less like a commitment and more of a “support” than care which could be a more approachable proposition. A PA with Hub Care Support can not only provide help with personal care, but can also help with daily routines, hobbies, companionship and support to appointments.

Offer your support

They may feel overwhelmed or scared at the thought of having someone new coming into their house so will need your reassurance to help them with the process, and to help them decide on what support they need. They need to be comfortable with the decision they make, and your support will be very reassuring for them. 

Ensure you emphasise how important they are to you, and how much you want to support them and will help.  Make sure you listen to them to understand their concerns and expectations; they will want to feel listened to. However, if they don’t want to talk then ask them to try and explain why but don’t force the conversation.  Try to get  commitment from them to have another discussion at a later date; allowing them to process some of the things you have spoken about.  

Your approach

The approach could be the most important part of the conversation, choosing the right words and tone will make all the difference. 

Here are a few suggestions: 

  • “I’ve been wondering if we could have a chat about introducing a little bit of extra help for you?”
  • “Are you finding it difficult to manage cooking your dinner every day?” 
  • “Would you like to have some help with some of the jobs around the house?”

Make sure to emphasise the positive impact personalised high-quality care can have on their day to day life. It will allow them to keep their independence – accepting support at home can enhance their life, allowing them to keep up with hobbies and preserving their independence making everyday life easier, as well as offering companionship.

Plant a seed

Remember, start the conversion early and allow it to grow over time.  It will be a much easier and calmer approach for all involved. 

Often, when your loved one is already having difficulties, they’re more defensive. You may want to consider talking to them directly about the things that may be holding them back, allowing them to also admit their own concerns.  Often elderly people have a fear of losing their independence, soo explain how having support at home can actually mean they stay at home for longer. 

Remember to listen to them if they are willing to talk, and try not to contradict them.

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