4 Steps to Helping Aging Parents at Home

Home care agencies, Bay Shore, NY


4 Steps to Helping Aging Parents at Home

As a person gets older, they may start to experience changes in their physical health, mental health, and overall well-being that start to gradually cause greater difficulties in their everyday life.

As an adult child, you may be finding that your parent(s) require more assistance with certain tasks or you are noticing that things are being neglected, such as, household chores, mail, and personal hygiene.

An important thing to remember is that aging issues often do not get better.  Waiting to address these concerns could mean having a crisis to manage at some point or missing the opportunity to prevent a major problem from occurring such as a severe injury or an undiagnosed medical condition that gets worse.

By following the guide below, you will begin to change the passive thought of “my aging parent needs help” to a step-by-step action plan to define the problems that are developing and identify the options available to address them.

  1. Assess your parents’ needs. Evaluate how much assistance he or she needs with daily living activities.  Identify which tasks are most difficult.  This would include the following tasks.
    1. Showering and personal hygiene care
    2. Dressing assistance
    3. Walking assistance
    4. Meal preparation
    5. Household upkeep and chores
    6. Grocery shopping
    7. Driving and running errands
    8. Medication
  2. Evaluate the home environment. Do a home safety check to identify areas of concern such as tripping hazards, stepping in and out of the shower, getting up and down from sitting positions, and access to certain items.  Identify areas where grab bars are needed, where non-skid floor mats could prevent slips and falls, where elevated seats could help with getting up and down from sitting positions (for example, elevated toilet seats, electric lift chairs, and grab bars for getting in and out of bed) and bringing items to areas that are better accessible and do not require a step stool.
    1. Bathroom – can mom or dad get safely in and out of the shower, up and down from the toilet?
    2. Bedroom – can mom or dad get up and down from the bed, navigate the bedroom with clear pathways, reach items in the closet without using a step stool?
    3. Stairs – are the steps free from clutter, can mom or dad go up and down the stairs safely without assistance?
    4. Hallways and living spaces – are the hallways and pathways free from clutter, can mom or dad walk around safely without tripping hazards?
    5. Access to washer/dryer – is the washer/dryer easily accessible or does mom or dad need to use stairs to get to them?
    6. Kitchen – are items needed in the kitchen within arms’ reach or does mom or dad need to use a step stool, does mom or dad remember to turn off the stove, does mom or dad remember how to use other kitchen appliances, is there expired food?
  3. Line up your team. Identify the family members, friends, and neighbors available to help.
    1. Neighbors who could check in on the house, pick up mail, etc. if mom or dad was in the hospital
    2. Friends who could help with getting mom or dad to a doctor’s appointment, pick up groceries, running errands, etc.
    3. Family members who could help manage mom or dad’s bills, coordinate doctor appointments, reorder prescriptions, coordinate other providers/services for the home, visit and help mom or dad at home with chores, meals, or errands
  4. Identify services and products to help. There are a multitude of products and services available to help seniors at home.
    1. Home care companies – home care agencies with screened and qualified caregivers can provide hourly, overnight, and 24/7 live-in care services to help mom or dad at home
    2. In-home physical therapy services
    3. Home modification services – companies that will renovate the home to make it more adaptable for seniors
    4. Assistive devices – these products can range from incontinence supplies to magnifying glasses to help with reading
    5. Alzheimer’s products – these products can help people afflicted with Alzheimer’s such as coloring books, memory games, crossword puzzles, and other items to assist a person who is cognitively impaired
    6. Daily money managers – these services can help a person with organizing and paying their bills, negotiating late fees, creating a budget, and planning for other long-term care costs


By following this plan, you will be able to line up support for the areas of your parent’s life that he or she is struggling with.  There are many resources in the community available to help you with the caregiving responsibilities and help you to maintain balance between your parent’s needs and your own.  The most successful and effective plan will include a combination of both personal friends and family members and outside professionals to address each area of concern.