Vitale Care encourages families to have conversations about coping and care needs at Christmas

For many people, Christmas is about spending time with family. When generations come together for the holidays it can be an opportunity to discuss health issues and care options. It can be a chance for grown-up children to get a clear view of how ageing parents are coping. While it may be a difficult conversation, it is necessary, according to Vitale Care Clinical Nurse, Jo Morgan.
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Vitale Care Clinical Nurse Jo has personal experience of caring for older relatives and has many years of professional experience at St Richard’s Hospital and St Wilfrid’s Hospice.

"I’m very familiar with having difficult conversations. Life is unpredictable. One day you could go to the doctor’s office and come out with a diagnosis of something serious or perhaps you have a fall. Suddenly, you are struggling to cope. Have those care conversations as soon as possible because you never know what tomorrow’s going to bring," explains Jo.

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Set some time aside during a Christmas visit and talk about how ageing loved ones are coping. Do they have any worries or concerns? Have they noticed any little health niggles? Does housework or cooking feel like it’s getting too much? Have they noticed any changes in themselves?

Vitale Care encourages families to have conversations about coping and care needs at ChristmasVitale Care encourages families to have conversations about coping and care needs at Christmas
Vitale Care encourages families to have conversations about coping and care needs at Christmas

Jo advises to see these discussions as conversations. “Be careful not to lecture. Remember, communication is a two-way street. Give family members time to prepare for any discussions. Make sure everyone has the chance to have their say. You want people to understand that your concern comes from a place of love. Aim to work together as a team to get a care solution that works for everyone.

Be compassionate and understanding of everyone’s feelings. Be a good listener and come prepared. Do your homework and give them options.”

Vitale has a free toolkit with questions you might ask professional care providers as part of your research.

Jo adds, "Our experienced team at Vitale are happy to talk to you and answer any questions you have. Here are some more things to consider when checking on your loved one’s health."