by Heidi Nestor, Writer and Editor, Life Alert

Caretaking of an elderly loved one is not only a physical challenge but an emotional one too.  You may find yourself with a new set of responsibilities that you would not have considered before such as, bathing, feeding, and overall monitoring of the diet and bathroom activities of the senior.

However, it can be especially challenging if you are caring for a parent.  Being the caretaker of the person who took care of you can create an emotional and psychological toll on both of you, leaving you and the senior overwhelmed.  Having to be dependent on someone to help them shower, eat and dress can be degrading.

Here are a few suggestions to help ease the stress of caretaking:

Caretaker's Course

Enroll in a caretaker’s course.  You may want to check out your local hospital or senior center to see if there are classes you can take to help you with understanding what you and your parent’s needs are.  Knowing what to expect can ease anxiety.


Join a senior caretaker support group.

Join a support group.  Perhaps the most pivotal course of action you can take to help with emotional stress is to join a support group of other caretakers. It is there that you will be able to share your feelings and concerns with other people who know what you’re going through and they may even give some tips on how to handle certain problems that arise.


Read books and search out Elder Care forums and websites

Read books on how to care take or go to the library and check out a few books on eldercare.  These too may help in giving you ideas on how to handle the physical and emotional stress you may be under.  Moreover, just as there are “Mommy Boards”, there are Elder Care forums and websites with ideas and suggestions to assist in daily challenges.


A medical alert emergency response, such as a Life Alert, may be all that is needed.

If you’re not sure if your parent needs 24 hour care have a professional, such as a doctor, assess the situation.  In some cases, you may just need to make a few modifications around the house, such as bath bars, in lieu of the parent moving in with you or going into a senior assisted living facility. Sometimes a medical alert emergency response, such as a Life Alert, may be all that is needed for senior living and independence.



take time off

Lastly, and just as important…take time off.  It is imperative that you have a day off for yourself when caretaking for someone.  If no other family member can step in to help, then hire a babysitter for the day so that you can have some time to yourself.



Senior independence is key at any age so if your parent rejects your attempts at elderly care, don’t take it personally. Books, groups, and classes will help you to understand not only your feelings but the emotional issues the person you are caring for are going through as well.

Life Alert understands that taking care of an elderly family member can be as much of an emotional challenge as a physical one.  Feeling overwhelmed is a common reaction, but also fear and worry can set in if you are not always available.  That is where Life Alert Personal Emergency Response comes in. If an emergency happens while you’re not there, all the senior needs to do is push the button on their pendant and we will send help fast, 24/7.  When you can’t be there, Life Alert can with one touch of button. 

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