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In-Home Care Options for Elderly Parents

13 minute readLast updated January 11, 2024
fact checkedon January 11, 2024
Written by Melissa Bean, senior living writer
Reviewed by Carol Bradley Bursack, NCCDP-certified dementia support group facilitatorAuthor Carol Bradley Bursack spent two decades as a primary caregiver to seven elders and is also a newspaper columnist, blogger, and expert on aging.
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The majority of older Americans now wish to remain in their homes as they age. If and when your loved one expresses their desire to stay at home, you’re probably worried about helping them age safely with proper care and preserved quality of life. You can help your loved one live at home for longer with proper planning, support, and appropriate person-centered care. Depending on the situation, one or a combination of the following care options may be the most ideal fit for your elder relative to age in place at home: home care, home health care, and family caregivers.

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There are several home care service options available to help elderly parents age in place, meaning your loved one continues to live at home and in their community without losing their independence, safety, or quality of life.[01]

Home care

Nonmedical in-home care for seniors can provide a range of supportive services, including housekeeping, personal care assistance, support during travel, and more, depending on the needs of the client. Home care employees, sometimes called home care aides or personal care aides, assist seniors with daily needs so they can safely age in place. Home care aides can also support the efforts of family caregivers.

Some seniors may need occasional help with transportation and meal preparation. Others who require incontinence care, have dementia, or need mobility assistance may need full-time personal care and help around the house.

When home care aides support your elderly parent at home, they might help with any of the following activities:

  • Companionship and social interaction
  • Assistance with bathing, showering, and other activities of daily living
  • Shopping and running errands
  • Cleaning, cooking, and housekeeping
  • Promoting wellness behaviors like eating healthy meals, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking to reduce their risk of chronic disease[02]
  • Transportation to errands, activities, or appointments

Depending on the services needed, the amount of home care someone receives can be as little as a few hours a week to round-the-clock care. Generally, providers charge by the hour, and some agencies may require hourly minimums per week or per visit.

According to A Place for Mom’s proprietary data, families can expect to pay between $21 and $50 per hour for home care in 2024, depending on their state.[03]

Is home care the right fit?

Let our free assessment guide you to the best senior living options, tailored to your needs.

Home health care

Home health care consists of skilled medical care provided in a senior’s own home. Home health nurses or other qualified medical professionals may provide these home health care services.

Home health aides can also assist with medical care, but only under the direction of a registered nurse. Their activities with your loved one may include the following:

  • Therapies such as physical, speech-language, and occupational
  • Pain management
  • Recording health data and monitoring vitals
  • Skilled nursing
  • Wound care
  • Medication administration

This type of in-home care for elderly adults is best for those with urgent or ongoing medical issues. The hours needed with this type of care can vary greatly based on your loved one’s unique health concerns. Some home health care services may be covered by Medicare. Depending on whether your loved one qualifies, Medicaid may cover home health care.

Family caregiver support

Taking care of an aging parent can be a worthwhile endeavor for many adult children. If your parent has cared for you for most of your life, you may now be ready to give back and take care of them.

Many people choose this option for their loved ones. In fact, 53 million unpaid caregivers provide more than $470 billion worth of support to family and friends each year — an amount that rivals the budget for the entire federal Medicare program.[04]

If you have the time and the resources to dedicate to being a primary family caregiver for your aging relative, you should consider using the following resources to supplement your hard work:

  • Hire a part-time home care aide.
  • Seek senior respite care options.
  • Set aside time for your own needs.
  • Join in-person or online caregiver support groups.
  • Join family caregiver support groups through the Department of Veterans Affairs, if your loved one is a veteran.
  • Apply for a Medicaid caregiver child exemption, if you wish to seek financial benefits.

Home care questions? Get expert help

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What are the pros and cons of aging in place?

The idea of aging in place holds that older adults should be able to receive care in their homes or a community of their choice. Seniors can receive care in their current residence regardless of reduced physical abilities, cognitive abilities, or other factors that make it increasingly challenging to remain independent.[01].

You can help your loved one age in place with family caregiving, home care, home health care, or even age-friendly modifications to the home environment. These person-centered and family-centered care options can help preserve your loved one’s autonomy and ability to age safely and with dignity at home.

While your loved one’s situation is unique, there are some positives and negatives of aging in place that may apply to many seniors in the U.S.

A graphic describing the pros and cons of aging in place

Seniors who choose to age in place may enjoy the following benefits:

  • The comforts of home. Your loved one has probably made their home into the ideal space for their tastes, preferences, and needs. It can be hard for a senior living community to offer this level of personalization.
  • Familiarity with their environment. The older adult in your life may feel more confident navigating a home that they know well versus an expansive community with many hallways and rooms.
  • Preserving social connections. Your loved one can remain in their beloved neighborhood with their longtime network. Relationships add joy and contentment to your loved one’s quality of life, and it can be challenging to form new relationships and say goodbye to established ones.
  • Routine personalization. With care provided at home, your loved one has a greater degree of control over their daily routine and how they spend their time. This retained sense of autonomy reminds them that they’re indeed living in their home.

However, there are some potential drawbacks to aging in place at home, including the following factors:

  • Cost. Your loved one may be able to live in a senior living community for less money than it would take to make the necessary repairs or safety accommodations to their home as they age — and as their home ages, too. Additionally, if your loved one needs care 24 hours a day, it may be more economical for them to consider senior living options.
  • Greater caregiver responsibilities. Without the help of staff in a senior living community, your loved one may lean more on you or require in-home professional caregivers to meet their daily needs. Caregiving or coordinating care can be especially time-consuming.
  • Limited socialization opportunities. A senior aging in place at home may need to leave their home to participate in social activities. Whereas senior living communities often feature activities and clubs within their walls to prevent social isolation. Leaving home can be difficult if a senior no longer drives, if they have trouble accessing public transportation options from their home, or if their caregiver cannot transport them.

Tips for taking care of elderly parents at home

Helping a loved one age in place can be challenging at times. Use the following pointers to make sure providing care at home goes as smoothly as possible.

Plan ahead

A big part of preparing for home care is making a plan. Talk with your loved one about their wishes and desires for their future before it becomes reality. The more time you have to prepare, the more likely you’ll be able to accommodate your loved one’s preferences.

Respect your loved one’s autonomy

Encourage your loved one to play an active role in the planning for their care. Listen with an open mind. The things that may be important to your relative may be different from what you anticipated.

Identify safety hazards

A safe home environment can prevent falls, promote wellness, and increase the viability of living at home for longer. You can use our home safety checklist to address common safety hazards in your loved one’s home. You should also encourage your loved one to prepare for natural disasters and other emergencies.

Encourage socialization

Loneliness is a serious issue, with prolonged isolation appearing to be as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.[05] Additionally, the Harvard Study of Adult Development — an almost 80-year study into adult life — demonstrates that close relationships and the happiness they create play a significant role in staving off mental and physical decline over time.[06]

Social connections are as important as physical wellness. Be sure to tailor socialization to your loved one’s unique personality and interests.

Prioritize caring for yourself

If you’re planning to take care of your elderly parent at home for any amount of time, you’ll play a critical role in their wellness. However, you must take care of yourself in order to properly care for your loved one as they age in place.

Caregiver burnout can become a serious issue without proper breaks. Remember to prioritize your own mental, physical, and spiritual needs. Plan a time that’s only for you each day. This could be as simple as a bubble bath, a quick moment of prayer, or drinking a favorite beverage.

How to tell if aging in place is no longer an option

While many seniors want to continue to live at home, situations arise that make it less than ideal to try to age in place at home. It may be time to consider community care instead of in-home care if your loved one experiences any of the following challenges:

  • Your loved one’s home can’t be modified to meet their accessibility needs.
  • The lack of accessible technology at your loved one’s home is preventing them from getting necessary support.
  • They can no longer afford the upkeep and maintenance of their home.
  • Your loved one has become increasingly isolated and lacks socialization opportunities.
  • Your loved one begins to exhibit signs of cognitive decline that result in aggression or wandering.

How to find senior care options

Hiring an in-home caregiver can feel like a daunting task for an adult child trying to find the right fit for a parent’s unique situation. Our Senior Living Advisors can help you with any of the following steps:

  • Comparing care types
  • Reviewing local in-home care service providers
  • Discussing ways to pay for care
  • Scheduling interviews with potential care providers

From sending in-home care resources to answering all your questions regarding senior living, we’re here to assist you every step of the way — all at no cost to your family.


  1. National Institute on Aging. National Institutes on Health. (2023, October 12). Aging in place: Growing older at home.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2023, October 31). Preventing chronic diseases: What you can do now.

  3. Domonell, K. (2018, February 28). Is loneliness worse for you than smoking? Right as Rain by UW Medicine.

  4. Mineo, L. (2017, April 11). Good genes are nice, but joy is better. The Harvard Gazette.

Meet the Author
Melissa Bean, senior living writer

Melissa Bean is a former veterans content specialist at A Place for Mom, where she crafted easy-to-understand articles about VA resources, senior care payment options, dementia caregiving, and more. Melissa pairs over a decade of writing experience with her time as a military spouse, during which she organized and led a multistate military family support group.

Edited by

Danny Szlauderbach

Reviewed by

Carol Bradley Bursack, NCCDP-certified dementia support group facilitator

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