When you’re starting the conversation with a loved one about aged care, chances are, it won’t go smoothly right away. It’s not a topic that many people look forward to discussing. But could a conversation that’s usually inextricably linked with the fear of lost independence become one that’s focused on how to maintain it? The answer is coming from a technology platform that’s helping Australians find a better way to speak to their parents about aged care.
The seeds of the Mable idea came from an experience of one of its founders, Peter Scutt, who struggled to find support for his ageing parents who wanted to remain living independently at home.
“Dad in particular wasn’t comfortable with strangers coming to his house. For Dad, this loss of control was particularly worrying and he was very resistant to accepting any kind of help.”
Back then, options were limited for people requiring home care. There was little to no choice about who came to your house and when. Flash forward six years, and Mable is an established platform that enables people to find, select and directly hire aged care and disability support workers.
But regardless of how you broach the subject, the suggestion that an ageing parent might need some support to remain living independently is likely going to be met with some trepidation, right? Maybe not. Here are five ways that Mable can help…
It can help you reframe how you talk about aged care
For many ageing Australians, accepting that they need care can be a difficult thing to do. In fact, these days, many would say that the phrase itself is out of date. Like most people, those who are ageing don’t necessarily want to be cared for, they want to be supported to continue living their life. When you’re starting the conversation, frame it around how some help might be a positive thing. Be specific and think about ways that it can support them to pursue their passions and hobbies or maintain connections with their friends and stay active in their community.
It can help you introduce support little by little
For most people, thinking about aged care only happens in the wake of a crisis, like a fall or an illness. But wherever possible, it’s best to think about having these conversations before you’ve reached a point where the care is urgently needed. Start small. Open up the conversation by introducing the idea of a little help around the house, or hiring someone to help with transport or to doing the shopping. With Mable, you choose who you work with, how often they come and what services they provide. Support that helps your parents to make their life easier or more convenient is much easier to accept, and once they’re used to having this kind of assistance, it will be a much smoother transition when they begin to need additional support with their daily living.
It allows you to engage people from your existing networks
The power of the Mable platform is that for the first time, you can find and directly engage people from within your own community to provide support, and use government funding to pay for it. Do you have a trusted friend or neighbour who already helps out, who could be engaged in a more formal capacity to regularly provide support? Mable allows you essentially ‘bring your own’ workers, who can register on the platform to provide support to your family and others. Chances are that if the person offering to support them is already known to your parents, they will be more comfortable with inviting them into their home.
With Mable, your parents can be involved at each step
Resistance to aged care can often come from a fear of losing control and independence. The balance has shifted, and as the child, you’re making decisions on behalf of your parents, who are used to being in charge. With Mable, you can involve them in the process by giving them choices about what kind of support they might access. Mable allows you and your parents to search the profiles of care workers in their area based on criteria that they have chosen. They can then view each worker’s profile to put a face to a name, hear about their experience and find out a little about their personality. They can control the conversations about what support is needed and when the care worker comes into their home to provide it.
You can find expert help
Often, it takes the word of a professional to convince your parents that help is needed.
Together, the independent workers offering their services through Mable provide a wealth of experience and expertise across aged care, dementia care, physiotherapy, nursing, speech pathology and more. Engaging the services of someone in the field to visit and chat to your parents about their needs and goals could help them to feel they’re not relinquishing control. Remember to also contact your local ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) to arrange an assessment to find out if you are eligible for government funding in the form of a Home Care Package.