Ways to Discuss In-Home Care When Parents Start Declining

You probably have not had 'the talk' with your parents. When Mom or Dad needs help at home, don't delay and get them the right support. Now, you better think about your need decades from now.

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Ways to Discuss In-Home Care When Parents Start Declining
6 Min Read April 3rd, 2021

Aging happens to all of us, including Mom and Dad. Once your parents can no longer take care of themselves, the family will need to have a discussion. Perhaps they made plans and discussed this with the family years ago; however, this is often not the case. For those moments, you need to know how to talk to them about assisted living.

According to an AARP report, more than 70 million Americans aged 50 and older suffer from at least one chronic condition. As we get older, it gets worse as four out of five older adults—suffer from at least one chronic condition. 

As people age, it may become more difficult for them to do the daily activities that will keep them safe and healthy. It is a natural part of growing older to lose the ability to continue in your everyday life, so it becomes necessary for someone to step in and help.

Start the Conversation Early – Make it Ongoing

If you notice your parents having more trouble in their day-to-day activities, you may need to open up a discussion about lifestyle changes or assisted care options. It is up to you to initiate this conversation; many older people are in denial about their decline and need for assistance. The time to have 'the talk' is before a significant event occurs that give everyone fewer options. 

Often, when a senior is told that they need assistance, they will immediately reject the idea. Your parents may get shocked or offended, so the topic needs to be brought up more tactfully; coming right out and saying they need help may offend and embarrass them.

Seniors may be more open to discussion when you bring the topic up after they voice their own concerns about the difficulty of their daily routines. But bringing the subject up slowly over time can plant the seed in their mind and make them more open to the idea.

Let Them Know They Have Options

Their declining health and frailty will not mean they must be sent to a long-term care facility away from their home. Today, your parents have many choices on the type of long-term health care they need or want to receive. There are many quality in-home care options available, or they may think it's best to be in a facility. However, there are ways to maintain independence at home and delay or avoid a facility.

There are several benefits for in-home assisted care; chief among those reasons is that your parent isn't uprooted from their home and placed somewhere else. Whatever the case may be, let them know there are options available to make them more comfortable with their lifestyle change.

All of us want to maintain our independence and avoid dependency. Living at home help gives people a sense that they are less dependent. However, to live safely at home the proper in-home health care is required.

Listen and Be Understanding

It should not be a one-sided discussion of you telling your parents all the reasons why they need help at home. Give them a chance to voice their worries and anxieties. Let them know that you are considering their feelings when you discuss the topic.

By voicing their apprehensions, you can answer your Mom or Dad's questions about this change and let them know that their hesitations and questions—while genuine and reasonable—can be answered. Having an active back and forth can eliminate some of their misgivings about the subject.

Give Them Time – But Not Too Much Time

Talking to your parents about accepting help at home can be a long process, and you need to give them time to make their decision. It may take them several weeks or months to come to terms with their limitations. Present your case and let them know you are only discussing it for their benefit, and it may take them a while to see your side.

However, do not allow for too much delay. Falls, for example, are common and can force an older person into a long-term care facility instead of staying in their home. 

Frame the conversation with your parent/parents by first praising them on the things they can still do on their own despite the age and health problems they face. Be sure you tell them you want them to be safe and live as independently as possible. The proper in-home care enhances their independence and does not limit it. 

Proper In-Home Care Can Delay or Avoid Need for LTC Facility

Generally, you can agree that if they get the proper care and assistance at home, they can delay or avoid a facility. Although, be sure they understand that there may be a time a long-term care facility is required. Although many facilities are available and options like assisted living facilities, which are better than nursing homes, the right care at home can help them stay there a long time.

Then there is the cost. Remember, in-home long-term health care will not be paid for by Medicare or supplements. In-home care is primarily custodial in nature, and unless they own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, they will have to pay for care out-of-pocket. 

The good news is in-home care is more affordable than long-term care facilities. However, over time, these costs can increase according to the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator.

LTC Insurance Pays for In-Home Care

Hopefully, your parents purchased Long-Term Care Insurance. If not, review their finances and see where money is available to pay for in-home care. Then, take a moment and think about what your future needs will be decades from now. 

Don't force your children to have a similar conversation with you in the future.

You can start planning now and be in control, giving your family peace of mind knowing you have a plan. 

Long-term health care is costly, and the consequences of aging and changing health affects you, your family, savings, lifestyle, and legacy. Without a plan, your family can go into crisis mode. It can be avoidable.

The ideal time to consider Long-Term Care Insurance is in your 40s and 50s when you still enjoy reasonably good health and premiums are at their lowest. This type of insurance is medically underwritten, so you cannot wait until you have significant health issues.

Seek the help of a qualified specialist to assist you in your research - for yourself. Meanwhile, start working with your parents so they can enjoy as independence at home for as long as possible.

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About the Author

Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.

LTC News Contributor Mallory Knee

Mallory Knee

Contributor since September 25th, 2020

Editor's Note

Your health and budget are tied together. As you age, you should be concerned about the growing cost of long-term health care. Changes in health, mobility, and memory lead to a need for long-term care, and those costs can be significant. 

There is now an additional concern for new taxes to address the pressure on each state's Medicaid budgets. The State of Washington has already implemented the so-called LTC Tax on residents without qualified Long-Term Care Insurance in place. Several other states are pursuing their own LTC Tax, including:

  • California
  • New York
  • Illinois
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii 
  • Missouri 
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Utah 

If you live in one of those states, you should consider taking proactive action to at least avoid the tax. The tax would be placed on 100% of earned income. The primary benefit of Long-Term Care Insurance is to protect your 401(k) and other assets from rising long-term health care expenses. Avoiding a tax is an added bonus.

Find Professional Help When Shopping for LTC Coverage

Long-Term Care Insurance comes in various types and options. In accordance with Section 7702(b) of U.S. Code, tax-qualified Long-Term Care Insurance policies include significant consumer protections, regulated benefit triggers, and tax incentives. However, many general insurance agents and financial advisors lack proper training on these products, underwriting, and policy design.

In addition, residents of certain states who don't own a qualified LTC Insurance policy are subject to a tax. To navigate the numerous options, you need the assistance of a knowledgeable Long-Term Care Insurance specialist. Additionally, a specialist can assist you in discovering the most cost-effective option based on your age, health, and family history.

Locate a specialist you can rely on who has dealt with all the top companies and understands underwriting, policy design, and claims - Work With a Specialist.

Tools and Resources Available on LTC NEWS

There is a lot of misinformation or incorrect information about long-term health care planning on the internet. Not every insurance agent or financial advisor has the expertise to assist you with long-term care planning. LTC NEWS can help.

The  Frequently Asked Questions section of LTC NEWS addresses the most frequently asked issues concerning long-term health care planning.

You can find all the resources available on LTC NEWS right here - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning.

The cost of long-term health care services is rapidly increasing. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator provides you with the actual and projected costs of care services where you reside.

Curious how much Long-Term Care Insurance costs? Learn more here - How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost?

How About Elderly Parents?

If your older parents or family members are declining and need help now, what can you do to help? You can get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether or not they have an LTC policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

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