Compassionate Caretaker: 4 Tips to Help You Care for an Elderly Relative


Many elderly adults prefer to live in their own home for as long as possible. You understandably want your aging relative to be comfortable, but you also want to keep him or her as safe as possible. There are many challenges that you may face in the years to come. These tips can help you to better care for your relative in a way that addresses these challenges.

Assess Changing Needs Regularly

The abilities and needs of your elderly relative may change periodically. In some cases, the changes may occur over a very short period of time. In other cases, the changes may occur slowly over the course of years. These changes may be in mobility, vision, hearing and more. In order to keep your loved one safe, you need to understand the challenges that he or she is currently having. Observing your loved on for several hours at a time can help you to determine what areas he or she needs help with.

Take Your Loved One’s Preferences into Consideration

Your loved one may be more inclined to accept and even welcome changes that are needed over the years if you include him or her in the decision-making process. You will need to discuss your relative’s needs openly, and you can provide your loved one with a few different options to consider. When your loved feels in control of the process, you may have less resistance to the changes that need to be made.

Be Patient

If your loved one is very resistant to change, you may feel frustrated with the process of trying to help him or her. Remember that any changes that need to be made over the years can be difficult for your relative to accept. In some cases, you simply need to back away and be patient. Within a short period of time, your relative may come around and be open to changes.

Seek Assistance

There may come a time when you can no longer provide all of the extra care that your loved one needs. When this happens, you need to be open to the idea of seeking extra help. This may be from other relatives in the area who may be able to help on certain days of the week, or it may be from nearby friends and neighbors. Another idea is to hire in-home care such as United Nursing Services. This may be from a general caregiver who provides assistance with meals and housekeeping, or it may be from a nursing professional who provides more significant assistance.

Eventually, your loved one may need to be relocated to an assisted living facility or even a nursing home. However, many are able to live in their home for a long period of time when they have relatives available to assist them in different ways. With these tips, you can more easily care for your loved one in a way that makes everyone happy.


  1. Great tips. I just went home for the holidays to visit my parents after a year of not making it home (they live on the other side of the country). It was shocking how much they had declined. My siblings that live in town with them didn’t really notice many changes…so it was actually good I showed up- just a different perspective. We made several changes at home, some quick wins (grab bars in the showers, more accessible kitchen organization for my mom, etc).

  2. Scott - Graying With Grace on

    Great senior care tips! In my opinion, patience is the key to the whole process. Sometimes even simple changes are hard to accomplish. Many of these folks see the life around them changing – and they don’t like it. They don’t like having to be dependent on other people – especially people they have taken care of their whole life. It is key to explain any changes before they are made, give the senior some private time to think about it, and then get their input on how to implement it. Great article!

  3. I’m glad that you mentioned how important it is to seek extra help from other people when times get hard. I’ve been looking after my mother for two years now but I’ve also gotten busier and I won’t be able to look after her soon. Maybe I should consider hiring caregivers who can prioritize the needs of my mother even if I’m not around.

  4. Thanks for helping me understand that there are in-home care services to help us. As you said, they will provide the meals and other caregiving needs to your loved one. I hope we can find one that we can trust as soon as possible since we need someone to watch over our grandmother in the house. We are all working to provide for her needs, so we might be too busy during the day.

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