What You Should Consider Before Volunteering to Take Care of Your Elderly Parents

The decision to care for your elderly parents, while noble, should not be made lightly. Undertaking the oversight of any person is a major responsibility on several levels. Take time to evaluate the services that will be required and your ability to render them, including the following.


Assuming your parents have their own source of income, you will need to keep your personal finances separate from theirs. For transparency, it is important to avoid combining income or expenses. You should also maintain separate bank accounts and credit cards. It is best to avoid making loans to or requesting one from your parents, as this could lead to a falling out if payments fall behind or interest charges are included. Personal property should also be handled carefully to prevent disagreements in the future.


You will need to balance your personal schedule with your parents’ needs. Before confirming the arrangement, have a frank discussion about who will do what. Set up calendar plans to ensure everyone’s routine commitments or appointments are covered. Try to determine if supplemental transportation needs may evolve and set them up ahead of time when possible. Line up respite assistance and household help if possible. Everyone should understand the basic family schedule to avoid unrealistic expectations.

Daily Needs

Older people, especially those with chronic illnesses or medical conditions, often need or benefit from daily help in various forms. From running errands to cooking meals, everyone should be in agreement about the level of personal care that will be needed and provided. It should be understood that the current needs may change over time, and the routine may need to be adjusted.

Special Considerations

Senior parents sometimes come with or develop circumstances that could change the level of care you are expected to provide. You may want to look into home lifts to provide assistance in caring for your loved ones.  Learn more about mobility devices at Silver Cross.

If a serious illness develops, or if either begins to suffer a serious health problem or change of health status, you may want to look into alternatives like assisted living if the situation warrants it. Financial changes, health problems, and individual preferences could lead to a decision to change the care you are willing or requested to provide. 


Keeping older parents out of a nursing home is a noble thing to do. However, there are several considerations to be made before confirming a long-term care arrangement. Utilize resources that are available to you such as this website that offers great examples of ways to make life easier for elderly parents. It is not a decision to make lightly. You may want to obtain advice from a counselor or mentor to get an objective perspective before making this potentially life-changing decision.

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