As our parents age, their needs change, requiring a different approach to support. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the many aspects of aged care, but it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. To help you on this journey of taking care of elderly parents at home, we’ve created a caring for ageing parents checklist. Use this checklist for ageing parents to manage everything from financial and legal matters to home modifications and social support.


Health Management

1. Schedule regular medical check-ups and monitor health routinely

Regular medical check-ups are vital as they help in early detection and management of age-related health issues. When taking care of elderly parents at home, keeping a health diary can be beneficial for tracking symptoms and changes.

Regular medical check-ups your parents should get/ may need are:

  • Annual physical examination
  • Vision and hearing tests
  • Dental checkups (at least twice a year)
  • Bone density scan, as recommended by doctor
  • Blood pressure monitoring
  • Cancer screenings, as recommended by doctor
  • Vaccinations
  • Cardiac checkup
  • Neurological examination, if there are concerns about memory or cognitive functions


2. Manage medications

Keeping on top of medications can be a tricky task for anyone. Try the following to ensure proper medication management:

  • Use Pill Organisers: These keep medications organised and ensure correct dosages.
  • Set Reminders: Utilise alarms or apps to remind when to take medications. Consider leaving notes in important places as reminders.
  • Regular Prescription Reviews: Consult healthcare professionals to adjust dosages or medications as necessary.


3. Follow dietary guidelines and exercise recommendations tailored to your elderly parent’s needs.

Here are some guidelines to consider when ensuring a balanced, nutritious diet for elderly parents when taking care of elderly parents at home:

  • Balanced Diet: Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy.
  • Hydration: Ensure adequate water intake
  • Calcium and Vitamin D: For bone health, include sources of calcium and vitamin D or supplements as recommended.
  • Fibre-Rich Foods: To aid digestion and prevent constipation.
  • Limited Salt and Sugar: Reduce intake of high-sodium and sugary foods.
  • Regular Exercise: Incorporate gentle exercises like walking, swimming or tai chi.
  • Strength Training: Light weight lifting or resistance exercises to maintain muscle mass.
  • Balance and Flexibility Workouts: Yoga or balance exercises to prevent falls.
  • Consult a Dietitian: For personalised dietary plans, especially if there are specific health conditions.
  • Regular Monitoring: Keep track of weight and adjust diet and exercise as needed.

Legal and Financial Planning

1. Organise essential legal documents like wills and power of attorney.

For organising essential legal documents like wills and power of attorney, keep in mind the following guidelines and recommendations:

  • Draft a Will: Clearly outline the distribution of assets. Consider hiring an attorney for complex estates.
  • Power of Attorney (POA): Designate a trusted person to make financial and legal decisions if incapacitated.
  • Healthcare Directive: Create a living will to specify medical care preferences in case of inability to communicate.
  • Update Regularly: Review and update these documents as circumstances change.
  • Safe Storage: Keep original documents in a secure location and inform trusted family members or advisors where they are stored.
  • Legal Advice: Consult with an attorney to ensure all documents comply with state laws and fully represent your parent’s wishes.


2. Plan finances for long-term care, considering potential future needs.

For planning finances for long-term care:

  • Estimate Future Costs: Research the costs of different long-term care options like in-home care, assisted living or retirement homes.
  • Budget Planning: Create a detailed budget that includes potential long-term care expenses. Consider whether selling your parent’s home is a necessary or beneficial step to fund their care needs.
  • Explore Insurance Options: Look into long-term care insurance or other insurance products that can cover future care costs.
  • Consider Government Assistance: Research eligibility for government programs such as the Aged Pension that can help cover costs.
  • Investment Review: Consult with a financial advisor to ensure investments are aligned with long-term needs.
  • Legal Planning: Incorporate long-term care planning into estate planning to ensure financial readiness.


3. Review and understand insurance policies and their coverage for elderly care.When reviewing and understanding insurance policies for elderly care, consider these aspects:

  • Coverage Details: Examine what types of care are covered, including in-home care, assisted living and retirement home care. Understand limitations and exclusions.
  • Costs: Understand all costs involved, including premiums, deductibles, copays and out-of-pocket maximums.
  • Policy Limits: Check the maximum coverage amounts and any daily or lifetime limits.
  • Eligibility Criteria: Know the conditions for eligibility, such as specific health or care needs requirements.
  • Inflation Protection: Consider if the policy offers inflation protection to ensure coverage keeps pace with rising care costs.
  • Claim Process: Understand the claim filing process, documentation required and time frames.
  • Waiting Periods: Be aware of any waiting or elimination periods before the benefits can be utilised.
  • Policy Changes and Renewability: Check if the policy allows for changes and understand the terms of renewability.


Home Safety and Comfort

1. Make necessary home modifications to enhance safety.

In order to improve home safety and comfort, take into account the following when taking care of elderly parents at home:

  • Remove Trip Hazards: Secure or remove rugs, clear walkways of clutter, and ensure cables are tucked away.
  • Install Grab Bars: In the bathroom, near the toilet and in the shower, to prevent falls.
  • Improve Lighting: Brighten hallways, staircases and rooms to increase visibility.
  • Non-Slip Surfaces: Use non-slip mats in the bathroom and kitchen.
  • Accessible Storage: Lower shelves in kitchens and cupboards for easy access.
  • Stair Safety: If applicable, install handrails on both sides of staircases.
  • Emergency Response System: Consider installing a home emergency response system or wearable emergency call device.
  • Bathroom Modifications: Install a raised toilet seat, walk-in tub or a shower seat.
  • Floor Level Changes: Reduce or eliminate steps or thresholds between rooms.
  • Furniture Arrangement: Arrange furniture for easy navigation and ensure chairs and sofas are at a height that makes sitting down and standing up easier.


2. Invest in mobility aids and explore assistive technologies for better living.

To assist with everyday living and getting around, you may wish to explore the following:

  • Walking Aids: Consider canes, walkers or rollators for improved mobility.
  • Wheelchairs and Scooters: Evaluate the need for manual or electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
  • Lift Chairs: Invest in lift chairs for easier sitting and standing.
  • Bedroom Aids: Consider adjustable beds, bed rails and over-bed tables.
  • Bathroom Aids: Look into shower chairs, bath lifts and non-slip bath mats.
  • Voice-Activated Devices: Use voice-activated technology for controlling lights, thermostats and other home devices.
  • Personal Emergency Response Systems: Consider wearable devices for emergency assistance.
  • Adaptive Kitchen Tools: Look for easy-grip utensils, automatic can openers and other adaptive tools for the kitchen.
  • Vehicle Modifications: If driving is still an option, consider vehicle adaptations like hand controls or lifts for easier access.


Emotional and Social Well-being

1. Encourage maintaining social connections to combat loneliness.

To encourage maintaining social connections:

  • Facilitate Regular Visits: Arrange visits with family and friends.
  • Community Activities: Encourage participation in local events, meetups or clubs.
  • Technology for Communication: Teach the use of smartphones or computers for video calls and social media.
  • Volunteering: Suggest volunteering opportunities to engage with the community.
  • Hobbies and Classes: Encourage joining hobby groups or classes like art, gardening, or book clubs.
  • Pet Therapy: Consider the benefits of letting your parents interact with pets (whether that be your own or someone else’s) or animal-assisted therapy.


2. Be vigilant and proactive in addressing signs of loneliness and depression.

To address loneliness and depression:

  • Recognise the Signs: Watch for changes in mood, disinterest in activities, or withdrawal from social interactions.
  • Encourage Open Communication: Create a supportive environment where feelings can be discussed openly.
  • Professional Help: Seek professional advice from a doctor or therapist if symptoms persist.
  • Stay Engaged: Encourage participation in activities and maintain a routine to keep the mind active.
  • Social Support: Foster connections with friends, family and support groups.
  • Physical Activity: Gentle exercise can boost mood and overall well-being.

Caregiver Support

1. Practice self-care to maintain your own well-being.

Your well-being is equally important, so it’s crucial to look after yourself adequately. For caregiver self-care:

  • Regular Breaks: Take short breaks throughout the day to recharge.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: Maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly and get enough sleep.
  • Support Networks: Connect with other caregivers for advice and emotional support.
  • Hobbies and Interests: Engage in activities that bring joy and relaxation.
  • Mindfulness and Relaxation: Practise stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
  • Seek Help When Needed: Don’t hesitate to ask for help from family, friends or professional services.


2. Seek and utilise resources available for caregiver support.

For caregivers in Australia seeking support, there are several helpful resources available:

  • Carers Australia: This is the national peak body representing Australia’s unpaid carers. They offer a range of resources, including information on advance care planning and directives, support for young carers, and various programs and projects to improve the lives of carers. 
  • Carer Gateway: This service provides a wide range of free support and services for carers. They offer tailored support packages, in-person and phone counselling, online self-guided coaching, online skills courses and access to emergency respite care. They also have resources for non-English speakers and those with hearing, speech or vision impairments. 
  • Dementia Australia: They offer specific support for families and carers of people with dementia. This includes access to free dementia kits, counselling, post-diagnostic support and various educational resources. Dementia Australia also has a National Dementia Helpline and provides additional programs like ‘At Home with Dementia’ and ‘Connecting Peers.’


Aurrum is here to help

The journey of taking care of elderly parents at home is both challenging and rewarding, requiring attention to a range of important aspects. From ensuring their health and safety to managing legal and financial matters, each step plays a crucial role in providing comprehensive care. 

As well as addressing the points detailed in the above ageing parents checklist, another major aspect of caring for ageing parents is knowing when to get additional help. As parents continue to age, their needs can become more complex and demanding, often exceeding what family caregivers can provide alone. Seeking additional help ensures that parents receive comprehensive care while allowing caregivers to maintain a sustainable balance in their own lives.

Consider exploring the services offered by Aurrum, a leading provider of residential aged care in Victoria and New South Wales. Aurrum is dedicated to enriching the lives of its residents through personalised care, modern facilities and high-quality services. If you’re considering aged care options or respite care, contact Aurrum today for more information or to arrange a visit.