A woman holding an older mans arm while walking down the stairs.

10 Steps to Take When Your Parents Can No Longer Care for Themselves

Many older adults need some help from others as they age. As your parents get older, there may come a time when they need to rely on you for care, just like you once relied on them.

Signs Your Aging Parents Need Help

When your parents are no longer able to care for themselves, they may ask for your help. However, they may not realize they need help, or may not want you to worry. If you’re concerned about your parents’ health, watch out for these signs that they may need help caring for themselves

  1. They’re not keeping up with their personal hygiene routine.
  2. Their home or yard is no longer well-maintained.
  3. They’ve been gradually or suddenly losing weight without trying.
  4. They’ve given up on their favorite social activities.
  5. They’re unsteady on their feet or have recently fallen.
  6. They’re managing serious health conditions.

10 Steps to Take When Your Aging Parents Can No Longer Take Care of Themselves

If you’ve determined your aging parents are no longer able to care for themselves, you may be unsure about what to do next. To help your parent, consider taking these 10 steps.

1. Talk to your parents about your concerns

When you notice your parents need help with personal care or routine household tasks, talk to them about your concerns. This topic can be difficult, so try to be patient and compassionate. Introduce the idea of getting help slowly and give your parents time to consider the idea.

2. Find out your parents’ wishes

It’s important to involve your aging parents in their care decisions. Before making any arrangements, ask your parents about their wishes for senior care. If your parents are open to the idea of receiving support, and want your help making decisions, proceed to the next step.

3. Assess your parents’ needs

Reflect on how much support your parents need to remain safe and healthy. Do they need help with housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation or other household tasks? Do theyneed help with grooming or personal care activities? Do they have difficulty managing a chronic health condition?

4. Evaluate your caregiving capabilities

Before agreeing to take care of your aging parents, evaluate your own needs and abilities. If you don’t live nearby, or are busy with work or childcare responsibilities, you may not be able to provide the care your parents need. Taking on too many responsibilities can contribute to caregiver burnout, which isn’t good for you or your parents.

5. Decide if you need professional help

If you’re not the best person to care for your aging parents, a friend or family member may be able and willing to offer support. However, if your parents have chronic health concerns, you may feel more comfortable if they receive care from a professional provider.

6. Explore elderly care options

Many older adults wish to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. For these seniors, in home care services, such as help from a personal care aide or home health aide, may be the right choice. Other seniors may prefer assisted living facilities or nursing homes.

7. Choose an elderly care provider

If your parents want to remain in their home, evaluate local licensed home care agencies. Discuss your parents’ circumstances and ask plenty of questions to ensure the agency is the right fit. If your parents will be moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home, schedule a tour to ensure they’ll be comfortable in their new home.

8. Understand your parents’ financial position

Talk to your parents about their financial situation to find out if they’re able to pay for the elder care they need. Some seniors may have enough financial resources to pay for care privately. But don’t worry if your parents can’t afford elder care — there are many programs that can help seniors pay for the care they need.

9. Research funding options

Depending on your parents’ care needs and financial situation, programs such as Medicare or Medicaid may help pay for elderly care costs. Private insurance, such as a long-term care insurance policy, may be another option. 

10. Help your parents arrange care

Once you’ve helped your parents select the best elder care option for their needs, call to make arrangements for care services. If your parents ask for help with paperwork, review all documents carefully. And once their care begins, check in regularly to ensure they’re satisfied. 

ArchCare Can Help

When your aging parents can no longer look after themselves, ArchCare can help. ArchCare offers a continuum of care to help seniors live life to its fullest, including traditional nursing home care, home-based nursing home alternatives and compassionate end-of-life care.

Call and speak with a Care Navigator at (855) 951-CARE [2273] (TTY:711) We’re here to help from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday.

Let’s talk about what you need. And what you want.