When you think of the holidays, you probably imagine making sweet memories with your families around the dinner table or Christmas tree. Discussing a sick parent or grandparent’s healthcare needs probably doesn’t fit into your vision of how you hope to spend time with your families. But, if you have a family member in declining health the holidays may be the best time to discuss their care with long-distant siblings and other relatives who are involved with making decisions for your loved one.
According to a 2013 survey conducted by The Conversation Project, only 27% of Americans discuss end-of-life care with their family. Even if your parents are still in good health it’s always best to plan ahead for the possibility that they may fall ill and require round-the-clock care or part-time assistance. Since the holidays usually beckon long-distant relatives home it may be the only time you have to discuss these decisions with all of your family members. If you have a family member who is already declining in health the holidays may be the first time those long-distant relatives will see your loved one’s state of health for themselves.
How to begin the conversation
You can make this difficult conversation go quickly and painlessly by preparing and doing your research beforehand. The Family Caregiver Alliance offers a lot of great information in their Guide to Community Resources article making it the perfect place to start doing your research on hospice and home care. A few things to consider during your research include:
- What type of care does my relative need? Are they in the end stages of life or just need supervision or extra assistance with day-to-day tasks?
- How much care does my loved one need? Are they in the beginning stages of a disease like Alzheimer’s that progresses over time? If so, they may want more independence in the early stages with plans to increase care as the disease advances.
- What are your loved one’s wishes? Do they want to be at home if possible or are they open to moving into an assisted living facility or nursing home?
- What’s the difference between hospice care and home health care? And which one does your loved one need?
- What type of legal provisions are needed to assist your loved one with their healthcare or end of life care decisions?
- What family member or members will take on the responsibility of taking care of your loved one’s healthcare?
- What type of budget will you have to pay for your loved one’s healthcare? How much of their care does their insurance cover?
For more information on making hospice care or home health care decisions for your loved ones and how to start the conversation around the holiday table, visit Caregiver.org
A great resource to start with is your family’s medical provider. Request a consultation appointment with a provider at EliteCare by calling 662-348-3342.