Five tips for having a good conversation about caregiving

More than five million Canadians provide care to family members at home.   Coming up with a plan to meet all the patient’s needs will require regular communication between health care professionals, the family caregiver, and the patient.    Here are a few tips to get the conversation started, and to keep it going.

  1. Involve the person you’re caring for, whenever that’s possible.  They will appreciate being included in the discussion, and in making decisions.

  2. Tone is important.   Talk to the person who needs care in a way you’d want to be spoken to.  It’s quite possible they’re already feeling vulnerable, so respect is paramount.

  3. Prepare lists of questions to ask health care providers.  Sometimes we’re intimidated by professionals, or hesitate to take up their time.  A  list will help ensure all the key points get covered.

  4. Be ready for disagreements.  It’s okay to respectfully question and discuss care recommendations, if you disagree, or are concerned about them.

  5. Be patient.  Take things one step at a time. Don’t try to predict how everything will unfold, and be flexible as things change over time, as they inevitably will.   Nothing is cast in stone.

Need more information on who to ask for services for an aging parent, or tips on how to communicate with a loved one about their care options?   Or maybe you could use a few reassuring words to help manage the physical and emotional aspects of caring for others.

That’s when you should Ask Elizabeth, a free service offered by Saint Elizabeth Health Care.  Anyone can call 1-855-Ask-Eliz (275-3549) or chat online through our web site (, to connect with a qualified health professional and gain confidential and practical information.

Ask Elizabeth is part of Saint Elizabeth’s Aging Well @ Home Institute, which draws on the wealth of our experience in research, education, innovation and caregiving support.   At Saint Elizabeth, we are constantly striving to make health better, especially for seniors.