How to Care for Your Elderly Parents Without Damaging Their Self-Reliance

Elderly Parents

No matter how uncomfortable the idea of it may be, every one of us will, at some point, see our parents grow old and gradually lose the ability to perform basic tasks such as shopping or even eating independently. This is the time when we have to take responsibility for the people who raised us and allow them to live their lives happily and unchallenged.

However, doing what’s best for your parents doesn’t have to be in line with their personal needs and worldviews. Here are a couple of tips that should help you pass this hurdle and find common ground with them.

Arrange a family meeting

This meeting shouldn’t come out of the blue. Tell your parents and siblings (if you have them) what you want to talk about and give them time to collect their thoughts and prepare their arguments. When they start presenting their plans for the future, listen to them attentively and don’t force any solutions upon them. Remember, your goal is to reach a mutual understanding with your parents, not to do what you think is best for them.

Talk to your parents about moving to a retirement home

Loneliness and the loss of important relationships are some of the main causes of depression amongst the elderly population. That is why you should consider moving your parents to a luxury retirement home where they’ll have an opportunity to build new relationships and get the assistance you and the rest of the family simply cannot provide them. Try to present the benefits of such a move, instead of forcing their decision.

Consider other aging care options

If your parents don’t need 24-hour assistance, you can present them with other care options that will compensate for your presence when you are busy with other obligations.


  • In-home help – As the name suggests, this type of assistance helps elderly people to deal with basic activities such as eating, dressing, functional mobility, and personal hygiene.
  • Geriatric doctors – The professionals that specialize in treating elderly people with multiple chronic conditions.
  • Assisted living communities Apartments and settlements for seniors who are still relatively independent but need some help with housekeeping and other chores.


Consider personal finances

Hiring any kind of assistance and talking a larger role in your parents’ lives will undoubtedly put a strain on your family finances. In these circumstances, any kind of efficient budgeting will require that you get an insight into your parents’ income. If you need more money to fund the assistance, present your parents with the option of downsizing, share the costs with your siblings or relatives, and consider asking help from charity groups.

Maintain your presence

No matter how much external help you introduce to your family dynamic, any kind of transition will be much easier for your parents if you maintain or even strengthen your mutual contacts. If your obligations are preventing you from frequent visits, grow a habit of making a call at least once a day. Introducing your parents to technologies such as Skype may provide them with a welcome distraction and help them pass the time while you are away.

We hope these five tips will help you reach an understanding with your parents and enable them a level of care that will suit their mental and physical needs. Just remember to make them a relevant part of the decision-making. Help and understanding should never come at the cost of dignity and self-reliance.