Caring for the elderly, especially one of your own parents, can be demanding both emotionally and physically.

Caring for an elderly parent can create a wide range of conflicting emotions in the care giver.

Here we look at the practical challenges that come with caring for an elderly parent and how to overcome them. In other articles we also consider the emotional challenges of caring for an elderly parent or relative and the financial challenges of caring for the elderly.

Live-in Care for people with Dementia

When a parent becomes older, and unable to care for themselves, one solution is to ask them to live with you so that you can provide care for them. This can be challenging when you already have a family, and there’s no doubt that the situation can put a strain on any household.

And yet, so many people choose this solution in order to prevent their parent from having to move into a residential care home; and to save both parties from paying care home fees. In this situation, it takes hard work and effort to maintain a healthy balance between family life and ensuring that your parent is happy and healthy, particularly since you may well be physically exhausted from caring for your parent.

It can be an emotionally-charged situation and can be draining, and there are also many practical challenges that can be both complex and difficult to overcome.

Here are some of the most common practical challenges when it comes to caring for an elderly parent:

Financial Implications of Caring for the Elderly

There can be an added cost to caring for an elderly parent in your own home. Heating, electricity and other utilities may need to be in use all day, especially in colder weather and this can all add up quickly to increased household bills. Plus feeding an additional person, and then all the extra costs of things like toiletries and cleaning materials. You also need to consider the cost of having to take time off work, or possibly even giving up work altogether. If you need to adapt your own home, by, for instance adding a ground floor bedroom and bathroom, then you may have to sell your parent’s home, which can potentially mean losing out on some of your inheritance.

Dealing With A Parent Who Wants To Stay Independent

It would be lovely if you and your parent easily come to a mutual agreement that they need help and you are willing to help them, but it is rarely that simple. Many older people resist the loss of their independence even when they might potentially be putting themselves (or others) in danger and cannot manage everyday tasks anymore. If they used to drive, for instance, it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that they have been advised to stop driving for safety reasons. Having honest conversations in advance is important so you both know each others feelings about care options.

Worried About Stroke

Adapting Your Home To Suit Your Aging Parent

Everyone’s home is very personal to them, decorated and furnished in a certain favoured style. When your home needs to be adapted to someone else’s needs (even when that person is your parent) it can be very hard for everybody to come to terms with. If an elderly parent is supported to remain in their own home, many of these adaptations can be accessed for free via the NHS and a referral to an Occupational Therapist. You can find out more about all types of support available here.

Struggling With The Health Issues of Your Aging Parent

When a parent has health issues that cause them to be aggressive towards other members of the family, or to behave unpredictably, it can be hard to explain to younger children why this is happening. You may need to protect children from any verbal abuse or help them to cope with certain behaviour they are not familiar with. But it can help to remind them that you parent is also their grandparent, that they love them and, most importantly, that their behaviour is usually outside their control. As with adults caring for older people, especially where their mental capabilities are impaired, there are a range of strategies to minimise certain behaviour and cope with difficult behaviour.

Looking After Your Own Family & Your Parent

Looking after your own children or grandchildren in addition to caring for your elderly parent can be tough. There’s so much to do and only so much time and energy to put into it all. If you have young children it can be very hard to help them understand why you can’t give them as much time and attention as you did before.


These are just some of the many practical challenges you may experience when caring for a parent. However, there are many benefits to looking after a parent, but it is also worth ensuring you have considered other options such as live-in care to make sure you and your parent are making the best possible choice for all involved.

Most important, is that you and your parent look at all the options available to you. Live-In Care enables people to stay in their own home for as long as they would like to. Many people just don’t realise that this is an option.

Do you need to arrange care for a loved one?