After researching how to take care of the elderly at home, a relieved daughter hugs her aging father.

11 Tips on Caring for Elderly Parents at Home


Taking care of elderly parents at home is typically the first step in a senior’s long-term care plan. This approach can save money and provide a sense of familiarity and comfort. It also allows time for family members to assess whether home care or facility-based care is more appropriate.

Most often, the responsibility of caring for the elderly at home falls onto family and friends.

For some adult children, this increased dependency occurs after they’ve retired and their children have left the nest. For others—referred to as “the sandwich generation”— it begins while they still have children at home. 

This group is called “the sandwich generation” because they are sandwiched between two generations of people who depend on them. Balancing these responsibilities requires careful planning and often external support to manage the demands of parents and children.

Helpful Suggestions When Caring For Aging Parents

The following 11 tips for caring for elderly parents at home are relevant to both empty nesters and the sandwich generation (SG). However, we’ve marked some of them with a double asterisk (**) to indicate they are a must-do for those of you stuck in the middle.

1. Keep a Close Eye on Your Parent’s Well-Being**

Caring for elderly parents at home often starts with a simple routine. It might involve a weekly or daily phone call to check in. Listening to their conversational tidbits during these calls can help assess how they are doing.

In many cases, this simply isn’t enough. Seniors who are struggling often hide it while on the phone unless they are well into the throes of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Either way, assessing how well independently living seniors are doing requires performing physical surveillance.

You might want to get familiar with 10 Signs Your Parents Need Assistance to Safely Live at Home. SG’ers often miss or dismiss these signs because of multiple obligations such as work, caring for children, and home life. Time passes quickly with so many responsibilities, making it easy to overlook the needs of elderly parents.

2. Enlist Helpers Early On

Caregiving is a significant responsibility that becomes more challenging as your parents age. Their needs tend to grow over time, making the caregiving process even more demanding. 

Waiting for a crisis to happen makes it hard to identify what is needed, how often it’s needed, and who is best suited to provide it. What’s more, it’s extremely challenging to make the right decisions during an emergency.

To avoid this situation, get the entire family involved from the beginning when mapping out a care plan because providing care should be a team effort. This can include offering respite care on specific days or times of the year, contributing to a fund for professional in-home care, or arranging for someone to clean the house. 

Each task plays a part in the collective support. You’ll wear yourself out if you take it all on solo.

3. Find a Respite Care Provider**

There will be times you aren’t able to meet your parents’ needs, such as:

  • Driving them to appointments 
  • Meal planning/preparation
  • Extra help around the house
  • Laundry or errand running
  • Unexpected doctor visit


From attending your children’s weekend sports events to annual family vacations, there are also times when you simply have to get away. Working with a home care agency beforehand allows you to have respite care ready in the wings when you need it. 

Home health aides can help pick up the slack whenever needed. Their services include personal care, medication management, and assisting with daily activities. They provide companionship and support, making life easier for seniors and their family caregivers.

4. Find a Way to Provide Easy-Ready Meals

Ensuring proper nutrition is crucial when taking care of the elderly at home. Seniors face a risk of malnutrition for several reasons. A significant one is the lack of stamina or ability to shop, prepare, and cook their food. This often leads seniors to skip meals or eat processed foods that are low in nutritional value.

Resources for Healthy Eating offers various tips to ensure regular access to healthy, nutritious meals for your loved one. These meals align with dietary restrictions and help maintain their well-being.

5. Take Care of Yourself**

The advice to care for yourself first is like the airplane rule of putting on your oxygen mask before helping others. You can’t take care of anyone if you are incapacitated.

Find ways to nourish your body and spirit, so you have the energy, stamina, and resources to be a caregiver. Personal care is extremely important and will provide you with the mental and physical energy needed to care for your loved ones.

While getting a massage or going to the gym for an hour or two is beneficial, these options aren’t always practical for many caregivers. The Harvard Health blog, Self-Care for the Caregiver, offers five practical, actionable tips to explore.

6. Keep Your Parent Active and Engaged

Living independently is great for the elderly, but not if it means withdrawing from activities of daily living that keep them active and engaged. If you cannot assist your parent with attending their usual recreational, religious, and social activities—consider hiring a companion. You can also seek assistance from others in organizations your senior is involved in.

For example, a fellow Rotary member may happily provide transportation to or from meetings. By the same token, members of your parent’s church, temple, or synagogue can facilitate attendance at those events. 

7. Make the Home Safe and Accessible**

A kind of fall or injury is detrimental to any senior. Therefore, safety is a top priority when caring for the elderly at home. Installing grab bars, securing rugs, and improving lighting effectively reduce the risk of accidents.

However, you may need to hire an outside contractor to make structural modifications. For example, widening doorways for wheelchair access or installing a stairlift can be complex tasks that require professional expertise. These modifications improve safety and help seniors maintain safe mobility within their homes.

For more information, read Easy Home Modifications Enable Seniors to Age-in-Place Comfortably.

8. Provide Access to Safe Transportation**

The loss of mobility and the eventual need to give up driving is a major challenge for seniors. Despite this, exploring other transportation options is essential to ensure they remain active and connected. There are abundant senior transportation options, so getting a safe driving plan in place may require research and effort.

Learn more about senior transportation services.

9. Understand the Financial Obligations and Assistance Options

At first, caring for the elderly at home can seem financially impossible. However, there are lots of resources available. Many people have discovered they can care for an older adult without taking extreme steps like depleting a savings account, taking out a loan, or selling personal property.

The Making Cents of Seniors’ Finances guide provides invaluable information on sensibly paying for senior care.

10. Take Advantage of Financial Assistance and Benefits for Seniors

Family caregivers often are unaware of the many government initiatives that can help with elderly parents’ expenses. It’s important to apply for these programs if your parents qualify. Caregivers can also get tax benefits. They can deduct medical expenses and claim their elderly parents as dependents for tax purposes.

There are specific websites that help find these programs., run by the National Council on Aging, is a web service that makes it easy to find benefits and programs locally. This service is for seniors with limited income and resources. It covers all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

These programs offer help with prescription medications, housing, healthcare, and home care services. They also help with energy and utility costs, legal aid, nutrition, financial assistance, transportation, etc. is another excellent government resource that lists over 1,000 programs designed for seniors. With so many available options, it’s worth taking the time to check if your parents can get benefits or assistance from the government.

11. Schedule In-Home Consultations With Local Home Care Agencies

At no cost, you can set up in-home consultations with local home care agencies. These sessions are rich in information, covering long-term care planning, financial guidance, and numerous tips for caregivers. And, should you require external help, you’ll already have familiarity with the agencies and will have a better feeling for which one will suit your parent’s needs best.

Finding Balance While Caring for Aging Parents

Caring for the elderly at home is a full-time labor of love. This list of 11 tips for caring for elderly parents at home aims to enable you to balance your and your parent’s lives. Regardless of how busy you are, chances are you’ll need help and resources at some point along the way.

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