Caring For Elderly Parents

Caring for elderly parents may feel like being stuck between a rock and a hard place sometimes. On the one hand this is the person you love who has loved you through thick and thin throughout your life. On the other hand the care giver from your childhood is now in the position of the one being cared for. It’s a type of role reversal that may be met with more than a little bit of unhappiness on the part of the parent who is frustrated with new physical limitations not to mention loosing a huge sense of independence and autonomy.

What can you do to make the transition a little easier for everyone involved?

1)   Go to great lengths to make your elderly parent feel like a welcome addition to your home. More importantly, make your parent feel like a contributing member to your home. This will do more things than you’ll realize at first to benefit your parent. First, it will give them a sense of purpose rather than feeling like an unwanted addition to the household. Second, it will help ease the tension to keep your parent busy (and away from the highly coveted remote control).

2)   Eliminate hazards from the home. Making your home a safe haven for your elderly parent is a great way to make your parent feel welcome. You want to make sure that there are grab bars in the bathroom, clear pathways in the hallway and living room for greater maneuverability, and remove any clutter that could provide a trip and fall hazard.

3)   Encourage good healthy habits. The trick is in finding a way to do it without sounding judgmental or parental. Remember that your parent still views you as the child. He or she isn’t likely to take too kindly to suddenly being ‘parented’ by you. Instead try to get your parent to help your child with exercise or eating good foods. You’ll be amazed at how well the grandchild card works.

4)   Offer plenty of privacy. Privacy is golden for your parent. While your parent may need some sort of supervision he or she also needs a little time alone on occasion to help sort through emotions.

5)   Get access to community organizations like the National Family Caregivers Association that exist to offer help for those who care for the elderly and aging. They have some amazing resources in place to help the process as painful as process for you and the parent you’re caring for.

Do these things and you’ll enjoy a much smoother transition for you and your parent. Also realize that if you can’t be there to care for your parent every minute of the day a medical alert system provides an excellent second line of defense if something happens to your parent while you’re away.


  1. …with 76 million baby boomers, there is going to be a huge need for caregivers and for the medical alarm industry.

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