Daughter with aging parentsIf your aging parents need help to stay safe and healthy, you’re probably feeling unsure about what to do. Figuring out their needs, understanding the options and making decisions can feel overwhelming.

Focusing on something concrete helps you feel more in control of the situation. Use these seven steps to turn the shapeless problem of “caring for my parent” into an actionable plan to help mom or dad be as healthy and happy as possible.

Assess Your Aging Parent’s Needs

Caring for a parent can feel overwhelming because you’re not sure exactly what needs to be done. To solve that problem, take a step back to understand how much help your parent needs with everyday life.

Think about 8 key areas: family support; home safety; medical needs; cognitive health; mobility; personal hygiene; meal preparation; social interaction.
How much support are they already getting in each category and how much help do they realistically need to stay safe and healthy? Write everything down in a caregiving notebook so you can keep track of their needs and figure out what services are needed. In-home caregiving help is an option whether you hire privately or go through a home care agency. Hired caregivers take care of seniors in their home. If your parent isn’t able to live on their own or needs 24/7 care, assisted living and other senior housing options might be the right choice. Geriatricians (geriatric doctors) specialize in caring for seniors and have more experience treating people with multiple chronic health conditions, dementia and other conditions that primarily affect older adults