How to Care for a Sick Parent at Home

Most of us hope that we’ll be able to live in our own homes for our whole lives. When we picture old age, however, we tend to focus on the more enjoyable aspects. You might imagine a life without work or wake up alarms. You might look forward to more leisure time, a chance to pursue hobbies and meet with friends, or a time to travel. Unfortunately, extended free time isn’t the only thing that our senior years bring. At some point, most of us start to face declining health, reduced mobility and cognitive decline. 

Chances are that your parents thought the same. They looked forward to elements of old age, without considering the less desirable aspects. But the truth is, even with declining health, they would probably like to live at home for as long as they can and enjoy as good a quality of life as possible. 

To give our parents this opportunity, one that we hope one day to be afforded ourselves, many of us choose to become carers, or at least to take on more caring responsibilities, caring for sick parents at home. While there are many benefits to this, it can be tough. If you are facing an increasing battle keeping your loved one in their own home, here are some tips to help you care for them. 

Make Sure You Have What You Need

What you need to care for a sick parent at home will depend on the state of their health, whether they are facing long or short-term health issues, and their individual needs. Speak to them openly and take the time to understand what they need. 

When it comes to medication, you might want to write things down, or even keep spreadsheets to get organised. You may also need to stock up on medical equipment, and things like specialist beds from and other changes to the home can aid their mobility and give them more independence while increasing safety. 

Be Realistic

As much as you want to help, it’s important to be realistic about how much help you can offer. Consider your own family, work, and other commitments, and don’t be scared to ask for help from other family members, or a healthcare professional if you need to. 

Make it as Easy as You Can

You don’t need to cook restaurant standard food to offer good nutrition. You don’t need to have them training for a marathon to promote activity and exercise. Keep things as easy as you can with things like meal prep, freezing meals ahead, daily walks and stretches and time outside in the garden. 

Educate Yourself

Take the time to learn more about their illness and what you can expect in the future. Learn more about medication and side effects, as well as any procedures that they might need. Speak to their doctors and try to form a timeline if you are expecting changes in the future. Learning as much as you can helps you to prepare yourself, your parent, and other loved ones, which can make the process far easier on everyone. 

Often, the key to caring for a parent at home is caring for yourself. Ask for help when you need to, take time off, and commit to spending time doing things for yourself, as often as you can.

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