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Tuesday May 21, 2024

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

Tips on Caring for an Aging Parent

Are there any resources that can help family caregivers? Taking care of my elderly parent while also working has become difficult to manage.

Taking care of an aging parent over a period of time – especially when juggling work and other family obligations – can be difficult. There are many resources available, however, to lessen the burdens. Here is what you should know.

Identify Your Needs


To determine and prioritize the help you need, make a detailed list of everything you do as a caregiver and the amount of time each task takes. This list can help you identify the times when assistance is needed and which tasks you can outsource.

Your list should also include the types of care needed. This may include companionship during the daytime or help with active chores such as shopping or running errands. With your list in mind, here are some tips and places you can contact for help.

Care Helpers


If you have siblings or other loved ones close by, ask them if they are available to help with specific tasks. You may also ask friends, neighbors or community group members if they could help too.

You should also consider local resources that may be available. Many communities offer a range of free or subsidized services that help seniors and caregivers with basic needs such as home delivered meals, transportation, senior companion services and respite services, which offer short-term care so you can take an occasional break. You may call the Eldercare Locator, a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, at 800-677-1116 for referrals to services in your area.

Additionally, there are a bevy of online services you can use to help save time on certain chores. For example, online grocery shopping and delivery as well as online pharmacy refills can be helpful. You can order meal-kits or pre-made meals online through numerous meal service companies and arrange needed transportation with ride sharing services.

You may want to consider hiring someone a few hours a week to help with cooking, housekeeping or personal care. The costs vary by location but can range from $17 to $32 per hour. To find caregivers, search online or work with a local home care agency.

Financial Aids


If you are handling financial tasks, make things easier by arranging direct deposits and setting up automatic payments for utilities and other routine bills. You may also want to set up an online banking service so you can pay bills and monitor account activity. For additional help, consider hiring a bill paying service which usually charges a flat fee with some starting at $99 per month. In addition, BenefitsCheckup.org is another excellent tool to find financial assistance programs that may help with finding utility discounts or in-home support services.

Technology Solutions


There are affordable technological devices that can help you check-in on your parent when you are at work. For example, there are medical alert systems and smart speakers that help with communication and allow someone to call for help if needed. Home video cameras with two-way audio allow you to see, hear and talk to your parent when you are away. Electronic pill boxes can also be set up to automate medication and send a notification if a dose is missed. You can also coordinate care with other caregivers, friends or family through apps or websites.

Other Resources


You can search online for other organizations that provide state-by-state listings of caregiving programs and services. Some national organizations also provide information unique to certain challenges such as those of dementia caregivers. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (caregiver.va.gov) also offers caregiver support services to veterans and their spouses.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published December 29, 2023
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