How to Help A Parent Who Is A Caregiver

Caregiving can be physically and emotionally draining. A primary caregiver—especially a spouse—may be hesitant to ask for help or a break. Be sure to acknowledge how important the caregiver has been for the care recipient. Also, discuss the physical and emotional effects caregiving can have on people. Although caregiving can be satisfying, it also can be very hard work, leaving caregivers emotionally and even physically drained.

Here are some ways you can help your caregiving parent, even if you live far away:

Offer to arrange for respite care so the caregiver can get a break. This can be provided at home, through an adult day services program, or at a skilled nursing facility.

Arrange for additional home-based care to make staying at home easier for your  loved one.

Find local services and support groups. You can try the ARCH National Respite Locator Service (click here for more information)  or the Well Spouse Association; you can find their website here.

Arrange for additional home-based care to make staying at home easier. In-home aides can help the primary caregiver have more energy to devote to caregiving and some time for themselves.


Sometimes family members disagree on who should be the caretaker and what their responsibilities should be. The best way to deal with potential conflicts is to have a meeting of family members, preferably at a time when there isn’t an emergency. For more information on family sharing of caregiving responsibilities, click here.

For additional information on health and aging issues, contact the National Institute on Aging.

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