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3 challenges of caring for elderly parents

Share the parental care responsibilities with siblings, if possible

This post is also available in: French

It’s easy to think that our parents are going to be around forever, isn’t it? it’s easy to think they’ll always be the same and never grow older, and subsequently always be fit and healthy enough to look after us. Unfortunately, Father Time always has his way, and these hopes and dreams are squashed. Unfortunately, our parents grow old and it’s not them that has to look after us anymore; it’s us that looks after them. You will more than likely have to face this turning of the tables. When that time comes, here are three challenges of caring for elderly parents and how to best handle these tough moments.

Challenge #1: They will get frustrated

Your parents are likely to become frustrated at the fact that they cannot do a lot of the things that they were able to do their whole life. That makes sense! They feel they are losing their sense of independence and are coming to terms with aging.

If you want to give them the best care possible, you’re going to have to accept these frustrations and push through them anyway in respect to them and the job they have done for you their whole life. Specifically, if these frustrations are born of your parent not wanting their home to change, then don’t make them leave. Instead, help in their elderly condition.

For example, you might get a stairlift fitted for the home. Apply other necessary changes to their house for their safety too.

Challenge #2: Trying to do it alone

You can’t do it alone. It’s as simple as that. Although it’s difficult to hear!

As much as you might want to or try to, you just can’t do it all. This is a demanding job in terms of what you will have to do and when you will have to do it (24/7).

So, share the burden with any siblings you have. Perhaps most importantly, ask for help from your spouse or maybe even your children, depending on their age.

Seek help from professionals in the homecare industry too. Reaching out for support will not only ease the pressures on your shoulders, but you will also help your parent too because of the fact that they will receive better care as you’re not exhausted all the time.

They will also still get to interact with a number of different people daily. That can be great from a social perspective.

Challenge #3: Saying goodbye

Eventually, the time will come when you have to say goodbye to the only people who have always been around and there for you. Yes, no matter how long your care for your aging parent and no matter what standard of care and life you provide for them, their time to go will come at some point.

It’s important not to fear this end, and it’s equally vital to stay calm when it is upon you and continue to care for your parent. Specifically, remain calm and provide your parent with the end-of-life care that they will need at this stage.

No matter how tough a time it is, it is imperative to keep the comfort of your parent in mind. In turn, keep them as comfortable as possible.

For more advice on dealing with an aging parent and ensuring they still get all that they can out of life,check out this HuffPost article. Feel free to comment below on challenges and caring for parents to help others.

32 thoughts on “3 challenges of caring for elderly parents”

  1. yes right.. parents care for us and so do we.. but there are some traditional ways which they are not ready to change in themselves. Could u read this post and share your views?

  2. I find myself suddenly facing a mom it’s Altzeimers, a father with cancer, and a mother-in-law with dementia. Everyone became ill at once. It’s a lot to process. Thanks for the post. It helps.

  3. The saddest part is that the hardships gone through while taking care of elders go unnoticed neither by those elders themselves nor by the people around us ! We would have all the strength to face these challenges only when we remember the love & affection showered by them when we were young !

  4. Frustration – you are spot on Christy. My Dad battles with me regularly and I just have to listen but push on anyway. I need the companion carers to call so that I get out for a break (there is just me to care for M & D) and you are right, this now gives M & D new visitors that they look forward to seeing. We’ve recently had a mini battle over a stairlift. I didn’t push the issue and Dad bless him asked me to order it. It will be fitted next week. I always feel so guilty, but if it will assist and ease pain then it has to be done. Another great post, thank you 💖xx

    1. The chair lift, I hope, will help everyone in your home directly or indirectly, Dawn! Your caring nature shines through in each word you wrote here. Blessings to you and family <3

    2. Thank you Christy. I think it will benefit us all one way or another. The benefit to Dad will be immense. I think I’ll try it out first though, just to make sure it works ok 😉 xx

    3. It’s in! Very neat and tidy, Dad has had a couple of trips. I felt quite upset seeing it being installed…end of one stage start of another. It will be a big help to Dad, that’s the main thing xx

    4. You are providing him with more comfort in this life stage… I’m glad you’re seeing it this way now, Dawn <3 Be strong, sweet woman you

  5. “Don’t fear the end” is my fave topical advice here. I say this as my parents & in-laws have passed. In their passing, fear came to me. I was not afraid for them, I was afraid for me. It was a clear knowing that my day will come.

  6. Such a moving post, and poignant for me given my current situation. It can be so hard. Frustrating for the child too when you feel as though there’s not enough you can do. Thank you for writing this.x
    Caz

  7. Great post Christy. By my mid 30’s my parents had already passed away and I wonder what it would be like if they were still alive. I do remember the challenges they faced as they aged and know that it’s very tough on the family to watch and to provide care. It is important for the caregivers to take time for themselves (I volunteer in the local senior home and see people resent the elderly because they feel guilty if they don’t visit every day – they need to take time to care for themselves too). And as you mentioned, respect is the key – we do not choose how old we are and we cannot change it. Unfortunately, many ailments cause people to get short-tempered and well, just ‘not themselves’ – that’s frustration and very hard on the family as you have to sit quietly and show them that you love them.
    Thank you again, for another great post Christy!

  8. In our culture, the youngest simbling takes care of the parents because they inherit the family home. If its an only girl or boy, then its thier responsibility. Usually parents dont like being put up in old age homes. they like being with the family. But now a days the younsters prefer to dump their parents some place. Some think money can solve thei problems, others who dont have money and are forced to stay with their parents treat them badly.

    For all of the troubles that they had to put with in raising us, I think they should be respected and loved and made very comfortable till the very end. Even if no else will recognize your hardship, GOD will and wll bless you abunduntly. Thats my take and you are absolutely right. I just wanted to give an Indian perspective for the readers

  9. When parents grow older, they do need love, understanding and care…blessed are those who get it. Thanks for this reminder Christy.

  10. My middle sister has taken on a lot of the responsibilities of taking my parents to appointments and going grocery shopping with them. My parents don’t like to talk about any sort of preparation for what to do as their health declines, so it’s a hard call to say how things will be dealt with in the coming years.

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