Being a Family Caregiver for an Elderly Parent

This may be one of the most difficult roles you’ll ever play in life. It will be difficult for both of you because in some ways your roles are reversed in a physical capacity but there remains the fact that you are the child and your parent is the parent. It makes for some interesting times that may be emotionally trying but are almost guaranteed to be emotionally rewarding as these are moments you’ll never get back if you miss out on them.

Take Care of Yourself

You’ll be in no condition to take care of an elderly parent if you’re in bad shape physically, mentally, or emotionally. According to the National Family Caregivers Association, depression among caregivers is quite common. Do self screenings for signs of depression often and get help (not only professional help but also help for the care giving duties you face) when necessary so you can be in a better frame of mind for the elderly parent you’re caring for.

Let Others Know of Your Responsibility

There are actually quite a few medic alert bracelets that will identify you as a family caregiver in case something should ever happen to you. This should give you some degree of peace of mind to know that your parent will be looked in on and cared for if you are incapacitated and unable to do so yourself. If you have friends and other family members that are aware of your responsibility you can go one step further by implementing a disaster plan that calls upon others for help if something does happen to you.

Encourage Independence in Your Parent

It’s one thing to take care of your aging parent. It’s quite commendable in fact. It’s another thing entirely to do everything for your parent. That, to some degree, will take away whatever independence is left for them. You may need to prod sometimes to get them to do things that were once so simple and now are quite difficult but the rewards will be better self esteem for the parent and a lighter work load for you. Even fostering the ability to get dressed, brush hair, and pour coffee will save you countless hours in a week.

Ask for Help from Friends and Family when Needed

Everyone needs a break sometimes. You need to be able to take a night off every once in a while to go out and do a little living of your own. Go out and enjoy a night on the town. See a favorite movie. Get a manicure. Have a date. Do something fun and frivolous to escape the physical and emotional toll that caring for an aging parent can have over you.

During those times when you’re away be sure to provide an added system of support with a medical alert system. This will be the eyes and ears around the home when you aren’t there and a system to notify you of any problems that arise.


  1. Home Security says:

    These tips are helpful to an elderly parent.

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