Caregiving for Your Elderly Parents

Although most of our parents will need some type of support as they become more elderly and frail, it can be quite difficult to develop a plan for caregiving for your elderly parents.  There are many reasons why this is difficult:

  • It is challenging to confront the changes and limitations that come with aging;
  • Caregiving for your elderly parents often includes role reversals, where you become the “parent” to your parents;
  • Many caregiving options exist, and it takes time to research and analyze them to determine which may represent the best fit for your family;
  • Your parent’s condition frequently shifts, and it can be hard to decide when to take certain steps;
  • Other family members are usually involved, which creates a more complex decision making process;
  • Caregiving for your elderly parents is often a new challenge, uncharted territory.

It’s very difficult to know when it’s appropriate to bring in supportive services, and one’s parents may resist the intervention of well-meaning middle aged children who they see as meddling in their affairs.

Here are a few tips for looking at caregiving for your elderly parents, and dealing with this very delicate issue:

1. Start discussing care needs before your parents become frail. It’s easier to discuss these issues when you’re in your thirties and parents are in their sixties than twenty years later. Most of us do not make the mistake of bringing up the issue too soon – – we normally discuss the concerns when we find safety, health or memory issues that can pose a threat. Don’t wait.

2. Do your own research. Look for information provided by government and national nonprofit websites. Go to the state government Department of Aging website in the state where your parents live. Look at information provided by the Senior Center nearest where your parents live. Check out resources in page.

3. Discuss care options, costs and payments with your parents. Consider the possibility of long term care insurance for your parents.  If your parents are on a limited or fixed income, investigate what care options are covered by Medicare and Medicaid, the changes that the Affordable Care Act will bring, as well as free and sliding fee scale services that might be available through the local Senior Center, area nonprofits and faith communities.

4. See what options exist for both non-medical and medical home care and carefully research the agencies, businesses and/or individuals that might provide care.

5. Talk with other people that use these services. Oftentimes, you can find support groups or interest groups where people are happy to share their experiences, references and information.

Anne Hays Egan, Caregiving for your Elderly Parents
EzineArticles Expert Author
Nonprofits Online

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This entry was posted in Caregiving, Caring for Elderly Parents, Community Resources, Community Services, Elder Care Resources, Tips and tagged , , elderly parent, . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Caregiving for Your Elderly Parents

  1. Knowing how difficult this is to plan now that the parents are older, it is also a quick reminder for us to discuss this thing with our children.

    • Anne Hays Egan says:

      Absolutely! Thanks for the comment. The communication definitely goes both ways.

  2. Corey U. Butler says:

    Faith-based organizations have a long tradition of providing assistance to those in need, whether they are members of that faith or not. Faith-based organizations coordinate volunteers to help and visit with the elderly and sponsor meal programs and other direct services at places of worship. Many faith-based organizations run their own retirement communities and/or nursing homes. The following organizations are just a few examples of the kinds of services provided by faith-based organizations. Check with your clergy or religious affiliation for additional resources.
    Corey U. Butler recently posted…No last blog posts to return.My Profile

    • Anne Hays Egan says:

      Excellent points. Thanks for sharing. There is a national network of church based ministries for older adults, health ministries, and/or parish nursing programs.

  3. Cameron says:


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