The Talk: Approaching Your Elderly Loved One About Needing More Help at Home


It’s a conversation most of us will have at some point: how to talk to our aging parents or loved ones about needing more help at home. It can feel daunting, but approaching this conversation with love, empathy, and a focus on solutions can lead to a positive outcome for everyone.

Why the Conversation Matters

Ignoring the need for additional support can have consequences. Safety hazards increase as mobility declines. Tasks like cooking or managing medications become more challenging. Social isolation and loneliness can take a toll on mental well-being. Having a proactive conversation allows you to address these concerns before they escalate.

Planning the Talk:

  • Choose the right moment: Pick a calm, relaxed time when your loved one is feeling well and receptive. Avoid bringing it up during stressful situations or after a long day.
  • Do your research: Explore different home care options beforehand, like companionship care, housekeeping, or meal preparation services. Having a few ideas in mind can guide the discussion.
  • Focus on “we”: Frame the conversation as a team effort. Instead of saying “you need help,” use phrases like “we can work together to make sure you’re safe and comfortable at home.”
  • Listen actively: Allow your loved one to express their feelings and concerns. Acknowledge their desire for independence.
  • Be patient: This conversation may take time. Be prepared to have it multiple times and address their anxieties calmly.

Tips for a Successful Conversation:

  • Start with positive reinforcement: Express your appreciation for everything your loved one does to care for themselves.
  • Focus on specific concerns: Instead of making generalizations, highlight specific tasks that have become difficult for them.
  • Present solutions, not ultimatums: Offer different options for care and involve them in the decision-making process.
  • Address anxieties: Reassure them that home care doesn’t mean giving up independence. It allows them to stay in their cherished home with added support.
  • Be prepared for resistance: It’s common for seniors to resist change. Listen to their fears and address them empathetically.
  • Offer to help with research: Assist them in finding reputable home care services or senior centers that offer activities and social interaction.


This conversation is about showing your love and concern. Your goal is to find a solution that allows them to live safely and with dignity in their own home for as long as possible. By approaching the situation with empathy and planning, you can have a productive conversation and create a care plan that benefits everyone.