How to Start a Conversation About Home Care

Everyone handles change differently – especially when it comes to everyday living and inviting someone into your loved one’s home to provide care. Talking about it can be difficult for them. And it can be difficult for you too. This information, including our “Do and Don’t” chart, is designed to guide you through those conversations.

Although there may come a time when a decision must be made about hiring in-home care, whenever possible it’s important to start exploring your loved one’s wishes before it becomes an urgent need. This can happen through normal conversations with your loved ones, as well as talking with family members who should be involved with decisions like this.

As you explore home care options, it’s also important to consult with the professionals in your loved one’s life such as their:

  • Physician or medical specialist
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Physical, speech or occupational therapist
  • Religious leader
  • Financial planner or accountant
  • Long-term care insurance provider
  • Attorney
  • Social worker or mental health professional

Download our tips for having a productive conversation about home care.

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Tips for Talking to a Loved One About Home Care

We know this can be a difficult time for families. These practical tips can help you feel more comfortable and confident when starting a conversation with your loved one about the possibility of using home care services.


  • remember that this is about them, their health and their happiness.
  • include a few key family members.
  • ask if you can take notes or record your chat to supplement your memory.
  • begin having conversations about their health sooner rather than later.
  • prepare questions to ask and points you want to get across in advance.
  • have the conversation in person. Sit facing them or next to them, and look them in the eyes.
  • listen with your full attention and without preconceived notions.
  • consider approaching the conversation by bringing up people they know in similar situations and the solutions their families found.
  • ask questions. What do they still enjoy? What do they perceive as the most difficult things about their days? What concerns do they have?
  • if things aren’t going well, suggest that they “just try it for a week.” Or offer to talk again a day or so later.


  • project your feelings and preferences onto them.
  • invite the whole family or bring a crowd thinking there is strength in numbers.
  • look at your phone or get distracted.
  • put it off. If they have any memory loss or risk of falling, delaying the conversation may make it more difficult for them.
  • tackle the conversation on the spur of the moment, but don’t treat it like a business meeting either.
  • have this important conversation over the phone, text, video chat or email.
  • interrupt or talk over them. Help them feel listened to by beginning a sentence with, “I heard you say …” and then repeat what they said.
  • forget to ask questions, e.g., How would you feel if that happened to you? Do you think you could benefit from something like that?
  • answer questions for them. Give them time to reflect.
  • be inflexible or impatient. Understand that they don’t want to lose control of making their own decisions in life.

Tips for Overcoming Resistance

Your mom, dad or other loved one may view accepting help as giving up their privacy or control over their own lives. For decades they’ve been your parents and have supported you. It can be hard for some people to accept that their children are now looking out for them.

Some individuals feel that receiving help is a sign of weakness; they also may be experiencing a lot of big emotions such as fear, vulnerability, anger and guilt about being a burden. Having empathy can help you better understand and find a solution they can agree to. There are a few approaches you can take to strengthen your relationship while moving into this next stage of life.

Empower Your Loved One

  • Show them that you’re on their team and support their desire to live independently.
  • Suggest that accepting some help would allow them to remain self-sufficient longer.

Express That You’ll Always Need Them

  • Point out that the experience of caring for an aging parent gives an adult child the opportunity to grow personally and spiritually.
  • Emphasize that you (and their grandchildren) still need them, which is why you want them to enjoy an improved quality of life.

Describe How This is Part of an Evolving Relationship

  • While many older adults don’t want to “take” from others, reframe the concept. Instead of life being about “give and take,” suggest that it’s about “give and receive” – and that they truly deserve to receive at this stage of their life.
  • Explain how much it would mean to you if they would accept your help – and the help of a caregiver that you recommend for them.

If you would like to learn more about in-home care, please send us a message, reach out to your most convenient BrightStar® Home Care location or visit the resources we’ve listed below.

Additional Resources for Family Caregivers

Being a family caregiver – or having a loved one who needs home care – can affect many different aspects of your life. Whether you want to learn what support is available for veterans, find local organizations that have insight into the care of older adults, or you need support for yourself, the following resources can help you get started. And of course, we are always just a phone call away!

We encourage you to choose resources with reputable organizations (they typically end in .org or .gov).

Find even more resources when you return to the beginning of our online Home Care GuideYou can also send us a message or locate your nearest BrightStar® Home Care agency