Have You Budgeted For Your Parents Care Home Fees?

As a ‘baby boomer’ (born in 1964) I knew that having children late in life meant I had to budget not only for my pension but also for the costs of university fees for my children.

What I suspect many of us born in that era did NOT expect was that the cost of our parents care home fees might also fall to us.

This is not an issue whilst our parents remain well and able to live relatively unassisted in their own home. But, once a care home is needed, the costs involved are significant.

Currently, the average cost of nursing home care in England and Wales is over £800 a week (or over £41,000 a year) per person.

This figure can be even higher in certain parts of the UK or where the elderly person’s needs are particularly severe or they need to go to a specialist Elderly Mentally Infirm home (for example if they have dementia).

Parents care home fees – what will they need to pay?

According to Age UK, currently, if your capital and income are above £23,250 it is likely that you will have to pay your care fees.

If your capital and income are under £23,250 you may get some help from your local council, but you will still need to contribute towards the fees – and the family home may be included in the calculation of assets depending on your circumstances.

To give you an idea, the value of your home will be included if your relative is going into permanent care – but not if, for example, their partner will remain living there.

And, as above, even if you do get help from the council, you may have to contribute to the cost of care from your capital until your assets fall to £17,000.

Even then, when this level is reached, you may still have to contribute something towards ongoing care costs.

You will, in any case, be subject to a means test to work out what you can afford – and this will depend on any income you currently receive.

The total amount you may have to pay is currently capped at £72,000 for the over 65s, but this amount is based on what your local health authority calculates the care is worth and does not include board and lodging costs.

You can find a good explanation here.

You can see that an individual’s entire life savings and assets can be spent in just a few months.

What is your parent is ill?

In the event that a parent suffers from a chronic, or life-threatening illness, funding may be available from the NHS which currently offers Continuing Health Care Funding which will pay the full cost of care
where the person’s need is primarily health-based.

The second type of NHS funding called “funded nursing care” is available where the individual has nursing needs and is looked after in a registered care home that employs registered nurses.

The NHS-funded nursing care rate was increased to £183.92 from 1 April 2020. This is the standard weekly rate per person but this will not cover all of the cost of care.

Care home fees vary depending on the area that you live in, the individual care home itself, plus your own personal financial circumstances. Costs average around £600 a week for a care home place and over £800 a week for a place in a nursing home.

Obtaining funding depends, of course, on meeting stringent NHS criteria.

What happens when the money runs out?

For most of us, we are looking at the sale of the family property and relying on our parents’ assets to be sufficient to give them the best quality care possible.

Once these assets have been used up, it is likely to be us who bear the financial burden, although some assistance may be available from your local authority.

You can see that if one of your parents needs to go into a care home but the other is well enough to stay put, there is a clear dilemma about whether or not the family home has to be sold.

Does the healthier parent come to live with you with all the extra costs that this would entail – extra heating, lighting and food costs, not to mention the cost involved in adapting parts of the home to make them safer for your mum or dad?

Balancing your monthly outgoings may be much more of a challenge and cutbacks will probably have to be made.

You may need a loan

Should you need financial assistance to help you carry out these home improvements and adaptations, you can consider borrowing up to £7,500 with a guarantor loan from a credit company.

A guarantor loan is a type of unsecured personal loan where you get a friend, colleague or family member to back up your application.  They must be someone who is willing to step in to pay your monthly repayments if you can’t pay.  You may find this additional safety net reassuring with so many demands on your purse from so many different directions!

Planning for the future

We never know what is around the corner and I think it is sensible to have a conversation with your parents as early as you can about their wishes and the financial implications of requiring residential care.

Having looked into the funding of care home fees, I am aware that this is something I will need to research in much greater detail so that we can make some sensible financial decisions as a family and consider how this may impact our budget.

The information I have given here is the tip of the iceberg and, as we know from previous UK budgets,  schemes such as this are prone to be frequently changed and thresholds altered.

This is a far better approach than having to deal with a sudden illness or even a bereavement whilst trying to decide whether their family home has to be sold or worrying where the extra money for your parents care home fees is going to come from.

As things stand, that anniversary cruise or funding your teen’s gap year may have to be put on ice, if the needs of your parents are greater – unless you prepare for the extra expense right now.

Is It Time To Start Looking After Your Parents?

One of the most distressing problems that come with old age is losing your independence. For those that are in their senior years, it’s difficult when life gets a bit too much to handle. Perhaps you have elderly parents who are now less mobile.

It’s hard to acknowledge that those sprightly figures that taught you how to ride your bicycle without stabilisers may now be a little rocky on their path. How do you know it’s your turn to look after your parents?

Look after your parents - picture of an elderly gentleman
Image credit: Pixabay

Signs that it’s time for you to look after your parents

A Change In Mood 

Old-age can be a big downer as aches and pains kick in, and nap times become more frequent. Perhaps their flexibility has now depleted. Their energy levels may be waning and you find they’re sleeping more.

These old-age signs are perfectly normal, but if their mood also starts to change, it may be a warning sign. They might become reclusive. Or they may seem more grumpy every day. If their mood is low, they may be feeling isolated, lonely or worthless.

Try and boost their mood by inviting them for regular dinners and including them in activities with the children. Suggest new hobbies such as chess or tai chi. Make sure they are eating healthily and taking low impact exercise classes if they can.

Losing Their Appetite

If you notice that your elderly relatives have lost their appetite, this can be a warning sign of underlying health problems. Our appetite does reduce as we reach old age, but if there are worrying signs, consider something may be wrong. There could be dental issues or indigestion problems. It may be down to the fact that they have lost the motivation to cook. Or perhaps they just don’t have the energy to do so anymore.

Falling Over & Vision Loss

Life expectancy has increased, and we are living longer. But elderly people are still affected by arthritis and osteoporosis. As bones become weaker, falls are more likely. If you have a parent that lives alone, you may be worried about falls. Bones break more easily the older we get, and the knock-on effects of this can be dangerous to those in senior life.

Macular degeneration is a common problem for those in later life. It can cause blurry vision and the inability to recognise faces. It can be a terrifying time for your parents.

Bone density loss and eyesight should be checked regularly. Earlier this year I wrote a post about my elderly Mum and on waiting for an ambulance. It was a frightening time and one that warrants thinking more about the care of our elderly parents.

Memory Loss

One of the scariest parts of getting older is the worry that you may lose your memory. We all forget things from time-to-time, even names of family members, or why we walked into a room. But if your parents are forgetting recent events, or are not thinking clearly, it’s another worrying sign. By 2025 it is estimated that there will be 1 million people with dementia in the UK, and it’s a progressive disease. If you are worried about a parent, make an appointment at the doctors straight away.

Decrease In Personal Care 

If you are noticing that your parents aren’t taking care of their personal hygiene or the way they keep their home, it’s a red flag. It could be a sign that they need more help than they want to ask for. Their health may be ailing, and they may not have the energy or confidence to take care of the house anymore.

Check the kitchen and bathroom for signs of lack of care. As distressing as it is it may be time to consider moving your parents/parent into your home. And if that is not possible, or if you have a fight on your hands, it could be time to consider a 24 hr Live In Care Agency.

Care agencies specialise in helping the elderly to have a rewarding life in their home, safe in the knowledge that care is on hand day and night.

We are all scared of getting older, losing our mobility and losing our independence. When our lives are so busy, sometimes we forget what is happening to others. But there are ways to keep elderly parents feeling wanted and respected. You just need to make sure you are aware of impending problems and find solutions that work for everyone.


The Top 4 Reasons To Invest In A Knee Scooter

Ever since time immemorial, crutches were the only tools to help people who had mobility issues due to an injury to the legs, a disease or even old age. They are cheap, durable and easy to use. However, using crutches requires a lot of upper body strength and there are also cases where people experienced irritation on the skin in the underarm area due to prolonged use of crutches.

Woman holding old man's hand - a knee scooter can give mobility back

Knee scooters are an alternative to crutches

Furthermore, turning and navigating through a crowd of people in walkways and sidewalks can prove to be a difficult hurdle with crutches aside from the large walk space it demands.

Fortunately, with the emergence of knee scooters or knee walkers, people now have a better alternative to the crutches and be free from the hardships that come along with crutches.

What is a knee scooter?

Knee scooters are basically wheeled devices that assist a person in moving around. It consists of a padded leg cushion for the injured leg, a handlebar that will serve as steerer for controlling directions and maneuvering around, and of course, a set of front wheels and rear wheels.

To explain the benefits and advantages of a knee scooter, here are the top 4 reasons on why people should opt for a knee walker instead of the traditional crutches brought to us by the mobility experts at www.UpliftingMobility.com.

A knee scooter

The benefits of knee scooters


We all know how uncomfortable crutches can be even with padding. The pressure of our body’s weight is focused on our underarms and shoulders resting on the top bar of the crutches, so no amount of padding will be able to relieve that pressure.

Furthermore, over time, it is normal for extensive use of crutches to cause irritation to our underarms and even great fatigue to the arm muscles, especially on our shoulders.

Fortunately, with a knee scooter, all of these problems are removed. You can easily move around by just applying a soft push similar to using a kids’ scooter. And with the handlebar, you can easily manoeuver and control the direction you are going in.

Fast recovery

Another great benefit of the knee scooter is it aids the recovery of an injured leg. Doctors and therapists agree that having a padded seat that will allow the injured leg to rest and remain stationary whilst moving will speed up recovery.

No need for upper body strength

Everybody knows that using crutches requires upper body strength. While this can be a minor issue to young people, they are actually a big issue to the elderly or to children who don’t yet have well developed muscles.

Fortunately, with a knee walker, upper body strength isn’t a requirement, with the wheels, anyone can easily move around without the help of an assistant.

Frees the hand

A great disadvantage of the crutches is that it requires both hands to support the crutches. Whether walking or just standing still, crutches still require the hands to hold them to keep them in place.

On the other hand, with a knee walker, people will have their hands free. They will be able to use their mobile phones or reach into their pockets even while moving. This makes a knee scooter a great choice of walking aid.

With these 4 advantages, even with a more expensive price tag, getting a knee scooter instead of crutches is surely a better option.

4 Tips For Spotting the Early Signs of Dementia

Dementia is a collection of symptoms that can occur due to a variety of possible diseases like Alzheimer’s. It is not an easy disease for the patient nor the family of the one who is affected. Sometimes it is unclear of what to expect with such a disease which can be troubling for family members in caring for their loved one. A key question is therefore how to spot the early signs of dementia?

Early signs of dementia - old man holding a ball. Lady next to him comforting him.

How do you spot the early signs of dementia?

Take a look at this signs of dementia infographic because it gives you some insight as to how the disease will progress and will help you to determine what steps you need to take in caring for your family member.

In addition, this article will highlight some tips for spotting the early signs of dementia in your elderly family members.

Early signs of dementia

Trouble in Communicating

All of us sometimes find it hard to communicate our feelings and desires to people we like or express our views at a new place of work, but this is because we are not familiar with the environment or a little bit afraid. This is not the same with dementia.

People showing early signs of dementia find it hard to communicate even with their families. It becomes hard for them to find words to communicate their thoughts. They keep on repeat themselves without even noticing it. Having a conversation with them might take longer than usual since they are having trouble finding words to communicate and are struggling to have a coherent conversation with you.

Memory Loss

In the early stages of dementia, the sufferer experiences memory loss, mostly the short-term memory. They forget very small details and conversations they just had a few minutes earlier. They may also forget important events and occasions like weddings and birthdays.

Memory loss may also involve forgetting the faces and voices of familiar faces, for example, those of friends or neighbours.

The sufferer may find their loss of memory deeply embarrassing because it makes them look inefficient. For example, they may not be able to remember why they came to see you or why they entered a certain room at a particular time. They may also forget what they wanted to say or how to do a certain thing that they could before.

Difficulty With Tasks

This is where the sufferer finds simple tasks that require organization and planning very difficult and this might be tasks that they were able to do before. For example, they may find the game of chess very difficult since it has a lot of rules. They may have been good at it before but they, later on, find the game extremely difficult.

Not only do they find small tasks impossible but they also lose interest in their hobbies and talents they had. They find activities that comprise of going out and having fun not as interesting as they should be.

The ability to learn new things generally becomes slower than usual. They will need to use more time to learn a new concept and sometimes they might not understand it at all. This will also affect their association with the people around them.

They also find routines hard to follow and if they can’t adjust it will be hard to do some tasks.

Early signs of dementia. Dementia spelled out in scrabble tiles

Photo credit: Nick Youngson http://nyphotographic.com/

Behaviour and Mood Changes

When a person starts to show sign of dementia they start having rapid moods swings and personality changes. For example, an outgoing person becomes oddly shy. They may show signs of apathy, withdrawal or depression.

Dementia can be a troublesome disease and it will progress at a different rate for each person. If you can spot some of the symptoms early on, you can act accordingly and help your loved one as best you can through this troublesome time.

For further information contact Dementia UK.

How To Find Honest Reports On Care Homes In England

We all know how important it is for the quality of health and social care to be monitored at all times.

So today we’re going to look at what the Care Quality Commission (CQC) does in England, and how they’re an essential source of information for anyone deciding which care homes to approach. Note: in Wales the relevant body is the Care and Social Services Inspectorate.

In an earlier post, we looked at ‘How To Talk To Ageing Parents About Retirement Living & Care’, so here we’re going to look a little further in-depth regarding how to source information.

A good point here before we get started, is that it’s ideal if you can do this type of research together with the person who is considering moving. Although this may not always be possible, if it is, it’s a good way to help develop further trust with your family member.

Seated old man's hands on a walking stick
Image Credit

Helping you decide

The Care Quality Commission provide us with an independent service, that has easily accessible information on health and social care groups across England.

They provide an essential transparency when it comes to the standard of care being provided, and most importantly: their findings are always published.

From here you can view and download the entirety of their inspector’s report, and or just review how the service has rated across five main categories which are:

Service leadership

These categories are then rated on four levels – “outstanding”, “good”, “requires improvement” and inadequate. There is also a fifth ‘no rating/under appeal/rating suspended’ level, if the inspection is under review.

Magnifying glass on multicoloured card
Image credit

Informative and honest

The regulator covers a wide range of care homes, from those that have been running for many years, to those who are more recently established, like Porthaven, who have been providing care since 2010.

In cases like this, the care home group work together with the Care Quality Commission, even providing details on the accountable people from the inspections, so it’s easy to reference names and possible contacts.

In touch with NHS practices

Another important part of what the CQC does is link their inspections with current trends in NHS trusts.

Their 2016 report on these services, called: Learning, candour, and accountability, provides an excellent insight into how thorough their approach is when it comes to relaying objective, and unbiased reports.

Two elderly men shaking hands
Image credit

Face to face advice

If you’re considering any type of health care, there can often be many questions that you’d rather just ask in person. However, many of us are familiar with how this can be easier said than done.

The CQC understands this well, and provides an extensive list of local groups that you can get in touch with, as well as the further option to join their online community, depending on which ways you find it most convenient to communicate.

So the good news is that it’s now easy to source a range of information on a care home, from the service themselves, as well as the people who inspect their work.

This can help to create peace of mind when it comes to making important decisions with your loved ones, and getting the most balanced point of view.

New Scheme Aims To Protect People With Dementia From Financial Scams

A new initiative has been launched across three local authority areas in Scotland to protect residents living with dementia from predatory financial fraudsters.

And, if the project succeeds, we can only hope that it is rolled out across the UK to protect the elderly and people with Dementia from the ever growing blight of financial scamming.

£405,000 has been awarded to East Renfrewshire, Angus and South Ayrshire local authorities, to work together to develop a preventative approach to protect people with dementia from financial exploitation.

People living with dementia are at great risk of falling prey to scammers and carers are often very worried about how to prevent their relative becoming a victim of a scam, particularly in the early stages of dementia when a person still has capacity but may not always have sufficient understanding to exercise good judgement.

Figures issued by Citizen’s Advice in 2014 showed that the most common type of scam takes place via telephone (34%) whilst almost a quarter took place on the internet (24%). 16% came through letters and one in ten scams were via email. Other types of scam include face-to-face visits, i.e. doorstep crime.

The aim of the project is to offer people with dementia an individualised, person-centred package to safeguard them from financial exploitation, on the doorstep, by telephone, by mail or online.

Each of the local authority areas involved will bring together local and national organisations to develop and deliver a package of preventive measures, including practical solutions and various types of useful technology, for example, call blockers.

Call blockers screen incoming phone calls and either block any unknown or unauthorised numbers or transfer them to a nominated family member or guardian.

The scheme aims to help residents with dementia live safely and independently in their own homes without worrying about being bombarded with confusing and intimidating calls or unsolicited doorstep cold callers.

Hands of an old lady playing the piano

This new initiative will also reduce the rate of financial loss and personal harm experienced as a result of scams.

Peter, whose mother received a call blocker as a resident in East Renfrewshire said, “When my mother came home after a stay in hospital, she had severe anxiety levels. Unfortunately, during the day when we weren’t there, she received numerous calls on a daily basis, from a variety of traders, from PPI people, from insurance companies and from banks. She became confused and anxious. She didn’t know whether she had passed over money and we were terrified that she was going to pass on large amounts of money to potentially rogue traders.

“What transformed things for us was the introduction of the Call Blocker from the prevention team from East Renfrewshire Council. I cannot overstate the dramatic difference this made to my mother. She was calm and she was relaxed. This has resulted in my mother being able to live independently, on her own, for the last four years.

“It has also transformed myself and my sister’s lives. Rather than having to deal on a daily basis with a crisis, we now have no crisis to deal with. We can track who is calling my mother, and where there is legitimate people calling, they have the option of whether to call myself or my sister. Quite frankly, my mother’s happy, we’re delighted and we can support her in putting her energies into making her life as pleasant as possible.”

Something we would all want for our elderly relatives. Here’s hoping the scheme puts pay to the callous and heartless scammers who target them.

Expert advice for supporting people in their senior years

I’ve written a lot lately about how best to care for our loved ones in their later years. We all know that old age brings with it great wisdom and experience, but it can also encroach on people’s much valued independence.

I’ve come across these great tips from Betterlife from LloydsPharmacy Independent Living Expert, Michael Sandland, who has some great advice about how best to help your loved ones remain independent in their senior years.

Encourage older people to stay socially connected

As social beings, it’s important to stay socially engaged to help avoid isolation, and this rings especially true for those in their advanced years. Building and maintaining relationships is important for mental wellbeing and has also been shown to aid physical wellbeing.

There’s some easy ways to encourage older people to stay social. For example, introducing a hobby such as yoga is a sociable way to stay fit or keeping in touch via FaceTime is more interesting than a simple phone call. Attending classes means your loved one will quickly make friends and have a routine social engagement. Alternatively, volunteering in local charity shops can be a great way for relatives to socialise with people from all walks of life.

Getting out and about for everyday tasks

Whilst internet shopping can put your mind at ease when considering older relatives during the cold and icy winter months, wherever possible it’s best to encourage your loved ones to get out and about. Popping to the shops for a pint of milk, going on the hunt for a family birthday present or dropping into the bank, going to the shops is an important part of staying active. Completing such tasks can be a challenge for those who struggle with mobility so it can be a good idea to recommend a mobility scooter. These can be a good solution to reduce strain and ensure users get to their destination comfortably. Check out the full range here: http://www.betterlifehealthcare.com/browse/mobility-scooters/

Support your elders in adapting their home 

As people grow older their home needs to adapt to ensure it remains safe and accessible. Indeed, one thing you will often hear older people say is that they don’t want to move into a care home and independence can be prolonged with clever technology and living solutions. For example, specialised adjustable beds, jar openers and big button telephones can do wonders for keeping people independent in their own home. Try visiting the Betterlife website for at home living solutions: http://www.betterlifehealthcare.com/

Staying fit and keeping minds active

Physical and mental agility is crucial to staying independent and there’s lots of ways to keep the mind and body fit as older people age. Whether it’s a daily Sudoku or watching Countdown with your loved ones, all these mind gym activities help to keep the brain sharp. Exercise classes for older people can be found at most town halls or local gyms to stay active.

Be mindful when offering support 

Providing assistance for older people comes naturally to carers but it’s important to frame the offer in the right way. Whether it’s helping older people navigate the internet or offering support with physical tasks, there are lots of ways you can make a difference to someone’s life. However it can be tough for elderly people to accept help after years of independence. When offering assistance avoid dictating and frame the support in a positive way. For example, if you are concerned about an elderly relative driving a car, maybe suggest they invest in a mobility scooter which is road legal. This will ensure they keep their independence and remain safe.

Let’s Encourage Older People To Keep Learning And Get Them #BreakingBarriers

By 2050, 15.6% of the global population will be older than 65.

That’s a staggering statistic which has huge implications for how we treat our elderly people, for our healthcare services, our pensions and, arguably, the structure of society.

Age shouldn’t stop older people from pursuing new hobbies

We are all aware of the double edged sword that is saving for a pension at a time when, although we understand the reasoning behind providing for our old age, the performance of many pension funds is so woeful many of us are relying on the Government to fund our retirement.

And when we do retire, given that we are all living longer, what are we going to do with our time – assuming we are lucky enough to have reasonable health and mobility?

I am 52 and already I can sense that the tide has turned in terms of job opportunities for my age group.  And it’s ridiculous. All that knowledge, expertise, training and honest-to-goodness street smarts often put out to grass when a bit of creative management would allow younger and older workers to buddy up, share responsibilities and learn from each other.

As a society, we really need to change our attitude to older people and the elderly themselves (even that word seems inappropriate) need to be encouraged to keep learning, developing and growing without fear of censure from younger generations.

Just because an older person may have mobility issues or require some adaptation to their living quarters such as a walk-in bath or safety rails, it does not mean that their brain is not as quick and agile as it always was.

After all, we are making huge strides in our battle against diseases such as cancer and are learning more and more about how we may better treat and prevent diseases such as dementia, strokes and heart disease.

Our chances of living to a ripe old age are increasing daily and even if we do face mobility challenges, there is a whole industry which has sprung up with innovative products to help us cope.

Of particular importance is helping our older people to remain socially active and a part of their local community.

Bathing Solutions, who specialise in mobility bathrooms are running a brilliant campaign for elderly people called #BreakingBarriers.

The campaign aims to change the perception many of us have about older people by encouraging them to break the social barriers that often face them by learning new skills.

Bathroom Solutions are encouraging older people to learn the importance of #BreakingBarriers

It’s encouraging how many older people are getting online, Skyping and using Facebook.  There is a whole range of hobbies or skills they can take up and Bathing Solutions’ Breaking Barriers campaign page has links to great resources for some of these such as knitting, Pilates, learning a new language, learning to speed read and cooking like Mary Berry (I need that one!).

The campaign page also allows you to search for courses on your chosen interest in your local community, perhaps in DIY & Practical Skills, Photography or Horticulture & Floristry.

My parents are 77 and they both enjoy their weekly art class.  It’s not just the painting they love, but the social interaction and friendships they have made across a range of age groups.

We know that loneliness kills – literally – and it’s so important for our elderly to continue to be fully participating members of our society because they still have so much to give.

We really need to ensure that our senior citizens keep #BreakingBarriers.

Find out more at www.bathingsolutions.co.uk/breakingbarriers/

*This is a collaborative post.

Tips For Caring For Elderly Relatives At Home

Caring for elderly relatives isn’t always easy and I recently wrote about the challenges of caring for your elderly parents while they still live at home. Just recently this has become a little more important to us due to the fact that Mum has had rather a patchy year of it so far, health-wise.

Promotional feature

My parents are in their late 70s and still fully mobile and I have to say that I would far prefer to look after them at home for as long as possible before considering residential care.

But I am increasingly aware that, for them to live at home in comfort and safety, we will eventually have to make some changes to their house.

It’s amazing what you have to think of when it comes to avoiding accidents – for example, my parents have had to swop to a cool wall toaster in case Mum touches it when she is unwell.  (She suffers from Temporal Lobe Epilepsy).

Then there are things like installing a handrail alongside the steps which lead down to their house and another to help them to walk down their sloping drive which is treacherous in icy weather.

Eventually, we may have to consider adapting their bathroom to include a walk-in bath or shower when Dad is no longer able to lift Mum or creating a wet room.

I’m sure many of you will identify with the difficult line we have to tread between offering advice and help and being seen to ‘take over’ or dent our elderly relatives’ pride.

It has taken Dad a while to be able to openly admit that having help sometimes is nice and he is much better at asking for help and sharing his worries with my sister Sarah and I.

But I find I often sound like I am nagging these days if I ask if they’ve had the heating on (the house is often like an igloo) or whether they are eating enough.

Caring for elderly relatives at home – what you can do to help

One of the things I am able to do is to invite them around to ours (we live literally a 10-minute walk away) for lunch to feed them up.

I think it is really important to maintain regular contact with your elderly relatives.  I find it heartbreaking when I read of old people who are in residential care yet receive no visitors. Their loneliness must be terrible.

My lovely mum

There are things we can do to help out – as long as we offer this help as tactfully as possible and gauge whether we are hurting feelings.  It’s all about open and honest communication.

Here are some suggestions you could do if, like me, you’re in that delicate position of recognising that a bit more help is needed, whilst not wanting to tread on toes.

I am, however, in the lucky position of living close by and with both parents currently able to look after one another.

For example:-

– invite them for meals

– batch cook at home (soups, stews, pasta dishes) and pop a few portions round in airtight containers to put in their freezer

– buy larger amounts of fruit and veg and let them have the surplus (very easy if you are a member of a cash and carry, such as Costco)

– offer to drive them to town once a week or to their supermarket to do the weekly shop

– carry out simple gardening tasks (hedge trimming, weeding, planting some perennials or herbs in pots).

– arrange for the laundering of big items such as blankets or duvets or take items to the dry cleaners

– wash the windows

– clean the house, even if it’s just whizzing around with a vacuum.

– do their ironing

This is all basic stuff and I’m sure you will have many ideas of your own. The tricky part might be getting your elderly relatives to agree to let you help out with some of these!

If you live far away from your parents or elderly relatives, you may be relying on a paid carer or assistance from Social Services and your hands may well be tied in terms of what you can do to help – in which case an honest conversation with your elderly relatives might be the best way to see whether they are coping.

There is always something that can be done to help with the added bonus that knowing our elderly relatives are being looked after and their stress minimised makes both their and our lives, just that little bit less stressful.

After all, I don’t know about you but caring for elderly relatives at home if you can seems to be far preferable to residential care.

Caring For Elderly Parents When They Still Live At Home

Caring for elderly parents at home can be a challenge and a difficult balancing act between ensuring they are comfortable and well cared for while helping them to maintain their independence. It’s only natural that they want to stay in the home they love, surrounded by all the things that have become so familiar to them over the years.

Sometimes though, there comes a point where more frequent medical care is needed and, if your parents are to stay at home, adaptations inside the building will be needed as well as a change to everybody’s daily routine. The only thing you can do is respect their decision to stay put and try and care for them as effectively as possible.

caring for elderly parents at home - old person's hands

Doing that while you live in a separate house is never easy. In fact, it is a difficult process full of stress and jangled nerves. It can really test the relationship between siblings too, particularly if you are the nearest one and the one who is usually left to sort out medical emergencies and home care.

How to make caring for elderly parents at home easier

Modify Their House

One thing you should strongly suggest is that their house is modified to meet their physical needs. This may be a compromise your parents may resist at first because it means admitting that they are no longer coping as well as they used to.

Tact and diplomacy are key but hopefully, they will see that a stairlift or an adapted bathroom will improve their quality of life and reduce the risk of injury. When you visit sites like www.terrylifts.co.uk, you can get an idea of the options open to you depending on the type of home your parents live in. There are all sorts of lifts and platforms for adapted homes, some of which may well be in your budget.

caring for elderly parents at home - stairlift

Regular Visits 

Even with these home adaptations, there is still the risk of a trip or a fall – particularly in bad weather and icy conditions. Checking up on your parents more frequently will be needed to ensure that everything is fine.  If your parents are anything like mine (both of whom are almost 80), they may well ‘forget’ to tell you about any minor accidents because they don’t want to worry you.  Unfortunately, that really doesn’t help you or them!

If you visit them on a regular basis, you will be there for them when they need you the most. Plus, you can take the strain off their shoulders and make their everyday life easier. For example, you can bring them their groceries so that they don’t have to leave the house. Little things like that reduce the need for them to take risks which lead to injury.

Split Duties 

Still, you can’t do everything on your own because you are only one person. And, you have a family and a life to live too. If you have siblings who live nearby, you need to make sure that they pull their weight when it comes to caring for your parents. It’s more difficult if they live miles away and, as I mentioned, open and honest communication will be needed so that everyone is included in any decision making and everyone can share the responsibility of caring for your parents.

Local family members could create plans so that they have every day covered. For example, you can see them on Mondays and Wednesdays, and your siblings split the rest of the week.

caring for elderly parents at home - old gentleman in wheelchair

Hire A Carer

Sometimes, caring for your parents is too much even with the help of the whole family. After all, your family doesn’t slow down just because your mum and dad are getting on a bit.

Chat with your doctor and your local social services department for advice.  Age UK is also a fantastic source of advice, particularly when it comes to things like the carer’s allowance.  If you are caring for your parents yourself, you may be entitled to this government benefit if you are looking after them for more than 35 hours per week.

You may also want to consider hiring a carer, a trained professional who will visit your parents’ home on a regular basis. This link will provide you with more information www.agingcare.com. A good caregiver will make everyone’s life much easier. If you are worried about the money, you can get a grant or a government loan to subsidise the cost.

caring for elderly parents at home - nurse and old gentleman

Move In With Them 

If things get worse and your parents are struggling to live independently and you still don’t want to consider a care home, then you may either need to move in with them or have them move in with you. Of course, this is only a viable option if your, or your parents’ house is big enough.

The kids might not like it, and your partner might feel the same, but they will understand. I know that if need be, I would prefer to have my parents living in our family home rather than relocate to a care home and I would be happy to do the same for the husband’s parents.

This does all, of course, depend on the medical needs of your parents. Some medical conditions will need a level of medical care you may just not be qualified to give – whether professionally, physically or, to be honest, emotionally.

It’s a sensitive topic and the feelings and needs of everyone involved will need to be taken into account.

Create An Emergency Plan 

It’s sod’s law that accidents tend to happen when you aren’t around – and you just can’t be there for them all of the time. When accidents do happen, you need a plan of action.

Everyone needs to know their job and what they should do if possible. For example, you should tell your parents they need to ring an ambulance and then ring you straight away. Or, tell them to press the emergency button (see modify home) to alert the emergency services. A plan is vital because it can be the difference between life and death.

caring for elderly parents at home - ambulance

Suggest They Consider Moving 

There may come a point where medical professionals or social services will have to get involved because your parents’ physical condition has deteriorated to the point where neither they nor you, can cope.

It isn’t an easy conversation to have but it may fall to you to gently suggest that a permanent relocation is needed. No one wants to force their parents into a decision, but you may need to be assertive. They need to know that caring for them while they are at home alone isn’t feasible anymore.

They need to understand that they need permanent help so that you can get them the care they deserve. This may not necessarily mean a care home. Sometimes, assisted living quarters are available which offer a mix of independence and around the clock care.

caring for elderly parents at home - old people in a care home

Caring for elderly parents is never easy, but you have to do what is best for their health and, at the end of the day, for yours.

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Choosing A Care Home – Top Considerations

Moving your relative into a care home is never an easy decision to make. But sometimes there is no other option – particularly where ill-health is concerned. Here are the considerations that should be in the forefront of your mind if you are going through the process of choosing a care home.

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Things to think about when choosing a care home for your loved one


The staff members that work in a care home are the people who your relative will come into contact with each day. You will get a chance to meet them and see them in action when you visit a care home, and this will probably influence your decision massively.

No one wants to move their relative into a place that is staffed by people who are unhelpful or cruel. You should do research and read reports that often judge staffing performances on them. You want to make sure that you are not going to have any problems with the staff and their behaviour later on down the line.


The facilities that are offered in the home are also very important. This is what most people focus on when they are looking for a place for their relative. It needs to have the right care and medical facilities that meet your relative’s specific health needs and requirements. And you should also ask to see the private living quarters where your relative will be living.

It’s not all about what’s on the inside though. Care home providers like H C Care Homes also focus on the outdoors. Elderly people like to be able to get out and spend time outside of the care home. So, it’s good to move them into somewhere with large green spaces.


Unfortunately, very few of us are able to simply move our relatives into the very best care homes. And that’s because the very best care homes come with a pretty large price tag attached to them. The costs are never cheap, and it’s up to you to weigh up the pros that the care home offers with the costs.

Of course, there are many cheaper options out there that still offer a high-quality service. It’s not always the case that the most expensive places have the happiest residents. You should make a shortlist of places and then compare the prices of them all. You probably won’t be able to afford them all, so compromise will be necessary.

Your Relative’s Preference

Obviously, all cases are different. But if your relative is in need of specialist care but is still able to take part in the decision-making process, they should have a say. It’s them that will be affected by the decision that is made, so it’s only fair that they have a say in the place where they will end up.

They should be with you every step of the way when you are weighing up all the options. They should meet staff members, view the facilities and do everything else mentioned above.

Before you even start to view the options, you should talk to them about what they want to get out of a care home. Then you can take it from there.

Sites like Paying For Care offer more information on care home costs.

Six Futures We Really Need To Plan More For

We spend a lot of our time wondering about the future. Many of us worry about the future, but not specifically.

We go through life with a set of small anxieties in the back of our mind that never really go away. Not unless we take action to take care of it.

For ourselves, our family and children, we need to think more about our future.

Here are six things we should be taking action over.

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Our finances 

We might try to be frugal and save money where we can. Especially if we want to put towards our savings. But our spending always has a way of creeping up on us. Particularly when the children are involved.

If you’ve been burned by overspending one time too many, it might be time to do it properly.

Prepare a budget and stick to it. Make sure you pay your most important bills first – mortgage or rent, utilities, insurances etc but allow the odd treat otherwise you will never stick to it.

Our parents 

When you grow more as an adult, if your parents are still with you they become a sense of worry. Or at least some apprehension about the future.

It’s a possibility that we should accept that in future they may need care. Care we might not be able to provide. Be prepared to talk to your aging parents about their retirement living and care.

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Our health 

A lot of us have followed the advice we’ve received about life to the fullest and seizing the moment in our youth. Whilst we wouldn’t take that back for anything, now’s the time we should focus more on our health.

As www.claybrooke.org.uk/high-blood-pressure-and-cholesterol-life-insurance shows, certain health risks can affect our life insurance. Our health no longer influences just us but how we can take care of others in our lives as well.

Our legacy

Speaking of the others in our lives, we spend a lot of time worrying about what we leave behind us for them. Not just in terms of the lessons we impart, but our legacy in value, too.

If we have valuable assets, we want to make sure they pass to the people we care about. The Money Advice Service can help you ensure everything’s prepared for them.

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Our children’s competence

Raising children is by no means easy. It takes hard work and a very keen eye to just feed, clothe and protect them. But we should also be preparing our children for life.

Competence and self-confidence are part of a self-feeding loop. Yet many parents only focus on one part of the equation. Make sure you take the time to guide your child with helpful skills.

Our guiding hand 

Making sure our child is able and confident isn’t the only thing we do for them, of course.

In a lot of ways, we act as their guiding hand.

One of the parts of our legacy we would like to leave behind is children who will do good in the world. But we don’t have to wait until they’re grown up.

Get them involved in helping people through things like volunteering early. That way we won’t have to worry quite so much about the future.