Australia’s aged care system comprises a range of services from basic care to more complex supports to enable people to remain independent at home, through to living in a residential aged care facility with access to full-time care. The majority of aged care is provided to people in their homes, reflecting people’s preferences to remain living at home for as long as possible. In the 10-year period since 2010–11, the number of people using home care has tripled (AIHW 2021b). Other aged care programs have also grown, though to a lesser extent.
Aged care in the home is becoming the popular choice when it comes to accessing supports. We know the majority of ageing Australians want to continue living in their own home, rather than entering residential care. The recent Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has recommended an extensive plan to overhaul Australia’s aged-care system. In addition to the Royal Commission’s findings and the subsequent opinion of residential aged care, is the baby boomer factor. The baby boomer generation are strongly advocating for themselves, steering well clear of institutional care. They are favouring services and supports delivered in the comfort of their own home, how and when they choose.
Aged care in the home -7 tips to encourage and convince
There can be reluctance however, for many it’s not easy acknowledging they need help. Neither is it easy allowing “strangers” into the home to perform care services. If you are facing this predicament with your parents, here are a few tips to encourage them to accept help:
1. Start with their reluctance
What is it about accepting care services in the home that your parents find most challenging? Reluctance often stems from the fear of losing independence and/or having a stranger coming into the home. These issues should be talked over as a family to alley fears. Highlight the most obvious fact that care in the home helps maintain an older person’s independence and connection to community.
2. Discuss the statistics
Falls are Australia’s largest contributor to hospitalised injuries and a leading cause of injury deaths. In 2019–20, 42% of hospitalised injuries and 40% of injury deaths were due to falls. Having an allied health care professional assess the home environment for safety issues and instituting a safety plan can go a long way to mitigating the risk of falls in the home. The government’s Home Care Packages Program (home care), provides a tailored, coordinated package of care services to enable people to remain living at home, and in the 2019-2020 period, supported around 175,000 people.
3. Appeal to your parents sense of wanting the best for you
Convincing them having someone help them in the home will relieve stress and worry on your part. Start slowly to allow your parents to see the benefits whilst also building relationships with carers.
4. Be mindful of the “role reversal” that occurs
When ageing parents start relying more heavily on their adult children, this is a change in responsibilities and is often difficult for some parents to reconcile. As long as you include your parents in all discussions regarding their care, so that they feel empowered and at least partially in control, this situation shouldn’t be an ongoing barrier.
5. Take a tour of a residential aged care home
By comparing the alternative, your parents may feel in a stronger position to choose aged care in the home. Moreover, if independence and remaining at home for as long as possible are part of their goals, then engaging aged care support is going to help reach those goals.
6. Engage the help of a trusted family health professional
Often, older generations hold their GP, community nurses etc in very high regard and if they confirm the benefits of aged care in the home, your parents will often follow this advice!
7. Run the numbers
From a financial perspective accepting aged care in the home is a far better choice. Most residential aged care homes require a huge deposit which results in older Australians having to sell their family home. With the home care packages scheme, accessing support services from home is often the best outcome.
Helping you stay independent
Engaging an aged care in the home provider is a challenging next step for some older Australians. It often implies a loss of independence and a relinquishing of control. The key to success is discussion about fears, expectations and openness to change. Many adult children end up helping their parents make major decisions about their lives. Approaching parents with respect, empathy, and understanding is the beginning of establishing an agreement that works for everyone involved.
If you would like to discuss what options are available for your parents to access aged care in the home, call our friendly team today on 1300 33 11 03.