Tips for Making Decisions About a Loved One’s Care

Finding the best care options for your loved one isn’t always an easy process. Several other circumstances or problems can further complicate the level of care that might be necessary. Each day, families need to determine if their loved one can still manage their own money, live alone, continue to drive, or even bathe themselves properly. Unfortunately, many families need professional help, but they often don’t know where to turn. 

Health and social workers can often help identify and communicate the necessary level of care needed for an individual, helping to improve the decision-making process for a loved one’s care. These workers can help a family make the best choices possible for their loved one, and they can also get the help needed to enhance the quality of life a loved one has while ensuring they are being taken care of as effectively as possible.  

Guidelines for Structured Care Discussions 

Structured care discussions between a family and the loved one that needs care may be required to ease into the process. With this approach, a trained clinician with experience in these types of family meetings and discussions can help bridge any communication gaps that may be present or improve the way information is being presented. Some of the things that should be kept in mind when making decisions about a loved one’s everyday care options include: 

  • A focus on values and care preferences of the loved one to help determine what level of care or services may be needed. This can also help gain more insight into your loved one’s preferences of a potential caregiver. 
  • Any conversations needed for determining the type of care required should be had as soon as possible to facilitate a smooth transition into daily care services, financial adjustments, and living arrangements. 
  • Active participation for the person needing care should be encouraged – even if cognitive impairment is present. This allows them to have a say in the care provided and can help ensure they are more receptive when care begins. 
  • Encourage all participants to recognize the individual rights as decision-makers and that disagreements on choices may occur. If health or safety is paramount, the family may need external assistance in deciding on a loved one’s care. 

Families need to understand that resistance is often completely normal; however, assessing care preferences and discussions about the process can help ease a loved one into a new, unfamiliar situation that may seem scary to them. By remaining prepared and having the tough talks required, a family can ensure the best care plan possible is chosen while also accounting for the unique needs that their loved one may need. 


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