How to Keep an Older Relative at Home as Long as Possible

If you have an older relative in your life, eventually you’ll need to start thinking about how you’re going to care for them as their physical and mental health decline. There are many options available, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities. But for many people, the best option is to remain home for as long as possible.

What steps can you take to make sure this aging relative gets to remain in their preferred environment for the longest possible time?

Why Remain at Home?

While remaining at home isn’t always the best option, there are some measurable advantages.

  • Mental health benefits. Most aging seniors strongly prefer a home environment over a hospital or assisted living facility. This is probably the environment they’ve known and lived in for many years, or even decades, and it’s where they feel most comfortable. As a result, living in this environment has a remarkable effect on mental health; people at home are less likely to deal with depression, they’re more likely to engage in activities, and they can delay the onset of dementia further than their peers.
  • Physical autonomy. Seniors also have more physical freedom and autonomy in a home environment. They might be limited in terms of mobility or accessibility in a shared facility, but at home, they can do whatever their physical abilities allow them to do. This sense of independence is vital for wellbeing.
  • Lower costs. For many people, it’s much less expensive to stay at home than it is to pursue full-time care services. If you’re working with a tight budget, home care might be the best option.

So how do we stay at home for as long as possible?

Consider Becoming a Home Caregiver

Consider Becoming a Home Caregiver

According to Freedom Care, one option available to you is to become a home caregiver. As a home caregiver, you’ll be responsible for periodically checking in with your aging relative, helping them with things like:

  • Meal prep. As seniors get older, cooking and food preparation become more challenging.
  • Financial management help. You may also step in to help pay bills, track budgets, and manage finances.
  • Personal care and hygiene. As a home caregiver, you can provide personal care and hygiene, helping your relative get dressed, bathe, and so on.
  • Health care. Even if you have no medical training, you can assist with things like taking daily medications.
  • Miscellaneous chores. You can also help with miscellaneous chores, such as cleaning, shopping for groceries, and taking care of minor house repairs.

You’ll also be there for companionship and socialization, giving them an opportunity to form a closer bond and talk regularly. It’s up to you to decide how much time you want to invest in this, but understand that you may qualify to be paid for much of your time (depending on the benefits available to your loved one and your current relationship to them).

If you don’t qualify for home care, or if you can’t provide home care, you can always hire a separate caregiver.

Invest in Safety Upgrades

Certain home upgrades can make the environment safer, friendlier, and more traversable for seniors. For example, if this person is in a wheelchair, ramps and lifts are a practical necessity. You can make changes to the kitchen, bathrooms, and flooring to reduce the risk of a fall. You can also install smart home devices and notification systems so your loved one can call for emergency assistance if they’re rendered immobile.

Consider a Move

Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense for an older relative to live by themselves. If this is the case, consider moving in with them, or having them move in with you. It may take some adjusting, but it might be the best situation for all of you.

Prioritize Healthy Habits


The healthier your loved one remains, the longer they’ll be able to stay at home without needing external assistance.

These are some of the best healthy habits to prioritize as you care for your loved one and provide them with advice:

  • Healthy, balanced meals. Healthy eating is a practical requirement if you want to remain in good physical and mental condition. Help your loved one by preparing healthy, balanced meals full of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and complex carbohydrates. It’s also important to make sure your loved one drinks enough water throughout the day.
  • Physical exercise. Physical exercise is extremely beneficial in preserving the autonomy of older adults, while staving off depression and keeping their minds sharp. It’s even more beneficial if you can exercise outside. When visiting your loved one, consider taking them out for long walks or coaching them through simple calisthenics.
  • Socialization. Socializing is one of the best ways to delay the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, so it’s important to practice regularly. Visit your loved one frequently and ask them to share stories with you; if you can share a hobby together, that’s even better. If you can’t visit in person, try to call and talk to them frequently – and no matter what, you should encourage them to socialize with other people as often as possible (including friends, other relatives, neighbors, and even strangers).
  • Cognitive stimulation. It’s good for older adults to remain cognitively stimulated, however they prefer to do it. Some people love to do crossword puzzles or sudoku puzzles. Others like to play chess and solve brain teasers. Any form of intellectual challenge is beneficial here.
  • Following doctor recommendations. Finally, do what you can to ensure this person follows the recommendations and instructions provided to them by medical professionals. That means taking the right medications at the right times, engaging in specific exercises and daily practices, and avoiding counterproductive habits (like abusing harmful substances).

With these strategies, your aging loved one can remain in a comfortable, familiar home environment for the longest possible time. Eventually, they may need more advanced medical care or nearly constant assistance – but you can likely delay that for many years.