How To Keep My Career And My Aging Parents Happy?

Any individual faced with making the decision to leave work in order to offer long-term care for an ailing loved one will undoubtedly struggle with the multitude of difficult aspects that inevitably come from having to leave their career—and life as they knew it—behind to be a live-in caregiver. Despite the ultimate professional and financial outcome, there will invariably be significant tradeoffs; individuals must prepare to clearly zero-in on their priorities and their respective accompanying pros, cons, benefits, and risks involved.

If you are one of the millions of Americans considering leaving the workplace in order to take on the role of caregiving for an elderly or disabled parent or relative, read on below to learn more about many of the most critical issues you should be considering through your professional transition. With our abundance of valuable insight, tips, and easy-to-read charts, you will be able to arm yourself with the vital information you need to make the most educated and well-informed decision possible.

As we grow older and hit many important milestones in our lives, it is important to note that simultaneous to our own aging experience is that of our parents. As our parents grow in age and begin to near their golden years, it often becomes apparent that they will soon (if they haven’t already) begin to require far more assistance in the way of daily living tasks, chores, and more.

Before you consider quitting your job, ensure that you have analyzed all aspects of the situation carefully, with the first assessment beginning with the current (and foreseeable future) situation your parent is experiencing to ultimately determine the best and most appropriate level of care for all parties involved.

The decision to take on the role of primary live-in caregiver for your elderly parent is not an easy nor simple one to make. Beginning with a heart-to-heart discussion with your parent about their daily needs, assistance requirements, and living preferences are just the beginning of a process that is fraught with details that must be addressed.

This opening discussion should be gentle in tone, loving in nature and absent of any resentment, anger, or irritability. Attempting to have a discussion surrounding the aspects of senior care while in a bad mood will result in little but strain between you and your parent, without you having been able to glean the important information you need to make the best decision for you and your parent.

During this conversation, show your parent the utmost respect by letting them openly voice their opinions and preferences. Ask open-ended questions that foster a sense of dialogue and lets your parent express their needs comfortably. Bring a notebook and pen and detail the answers to their questions for your consideration later on as you bring all the necessary factors together to make your decisions in regard to becoming a primary caregiver and quitting your job.

Questions You Should be Asking During this Conversation Should Include the Following Topics:

  • How is their overall health these days?
  • Has a doctor made any new diagnoses or prognoses?
  • How is your parent doing in terms of regularly taking their medication on time?
  • What voids does your parent feel exist in their lives, in terms of medical care, general assistance, and companionship?
  • Would your parent prefer to continue living at home?
  • Is your parent open to, or do they have a preference for living in a nursing home with other seniors?
  • Does your parent require the type of careful observation found in hospital-type settings?
  • What does your parent value most in the aging process? Maintaining independence? Ensuring 24/7 observational caregiving? Being around other seniors and making friends?

As you obtain the answers to the above questions as a family member, you will begin to have the formations of a clearer idea of what your elderly parent needs, what they prefer, and what is going to make them the happiest overall as a senior caregiver. Once this information has been gleaned from your parent, you can then begin to build a roadmap of pertinent care options that suit the highly individualized needs of your parent.


The person requiring care will typically opt to stay home and maintain their sense of dignity, pride, and independence. While open to the prospect of having their adult children take on caregiver-style roles, many seniors elect for affordable in-home health care services with visits scheduled as needed. Most parents feel a sense of discomfort at the possibility of having their adult child quit their jobs and suffer from a lack of income and are concerned with their children becoming stressed out and overwhelmed from maintaining care and assistance responsibilities by themselves.

However, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for this type of situation and many adult children who are currently not in the workforce may end up becoming their parents primary caregiver as the opportunity presents a win-win situation in terms of overall affordability and the level of care required (which may have to be just minimally augmented with in-home care services).

Some seniors prefer to move to nursing homes and see it as an opportunity to befriend other seniors and become more socially engaged while also receiving crucial health care and general assistance. However, nursing homes can be very costly and many seniors feel a sense of trepidation at the idea of moving to what is seemingly an “institutional-style” setting.

For seniors suffering from serious, debilitating conditions that require round the clock observation, a hospital-style setting will be a necessary choice for them to take.

After reviewing the information your parent has provided you and considering the three above-mentioned settings, you are considerably further in the decision-making process. For seniors who have to opt for option three, there is little you can do in the way of helping them remain healthy and happy by providing them with the high-level of specialized care that a hospital-setting can readily provide.

Expensive, hospital-style settings will be covered by a variety of programs depending on your parent’s veteran status, Medicaid/Medicare qualifications, and any medical benefits they will have received from their decades in the workforce. If you parent clearly must be in a hospital setting, ensure that you assist them with the paperwork and processes behind ensuring that their care is covered. Seniors who opt to move to nursing homes do so for a variety of reasons, with social interaction usually being near or at the top of the list.

A costly expenditure, nursing homes are not covered by Medicare. Seniors looking for resources to pay for long-term nursing home care will have to depend on personal insurance and the possibility of using Medicaid to cover the cost. It’s important to note that Medicaid varies from state to state, with some states readily covering long-term nursing care and others not covering it at all.

The vast majority of seniors planning out their golden years have been opting to stay at home and take advantage of in-home health care services that can be specialized for their overall preferences, needs, and schedule. Costing just a fraction of the costs involved with nursing home care (and hospital settings), in-home health care is a popular service chosen by seniors who want to maintain independence, pride, and self-reliance while also receiving the health care they need and not presenting a burden to their children and other loved ones.

A veritable win-win situation for most families, in-home nursing care removes the need for adult children to resort to having to quit their job to ensure mom or dad is properly taken care of. With a multitude of specialized care options readily available, in-home care services can provide an assortment of professionals to tend to unique senior needs, from home health care aides, to nurse practitioners, companions, drop-in physicians, and more.

For many seniors, the notion of independence is of paramount importance. Maintaining a level of dignity and self-reliance are critical for seniors who want to be treated with respect and empathy. In-home care services help facilitate greater levels of independence for senior citizens by taking on a variety of roles and tasks where assistance is required while also allowing the patient to perform other tasks easily and independently.