Thrive In Place Blog

4 Free & Low-Cost Ideas to Improve Care for Your Aging Parents

Your aging parents’ care can quickly become costly. From expensive medical specialists and prescriptions that may not be covered by their insurance, to wages lost from needing to take time off work or driving back and forth between two homes, caregiving carries a steep price.

Is there anything the adult children of older parents can do to improve care for their parents in a cost efficient, less disruptive way?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes! Here are a few free or low-cost ways you can care for your aging parents:


1) Get Grandkids & Grandparents Together

Let your aging parents spend more time with your kids in a safe environment.

Set them up with art supplies to create a peaceful environment that’s comfortable for your parents and keeps your kids sitting still. Break out some brain teasers that will challenge them both, and even inspire them to work through the solution together!

Getting your grandparents and grandchildren to safely spend time together will keep both of them entertained and make them feel loved.

Plus, spending time with others reduces the risk of social isolation and the associated costs that come with it: depression, therapy, or more medications.

Seniors who regularly interact with other people  are healthier too so you may find yourself making doctor’s appointments less often. In this case an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – not to mention the incredible effect grandparenting has on grandkids!


2) Medications Delivered Home

Get your parents’ prescriptions that are on auto-refill mailed directly to their doorstep. Mail service pharmacies sound unconventional but are a real time saver – and a money saver in some cases below – especially if your parents are taking multiple medications that aren’t always refilled at the same time.

There are a few services that offer home delivery, including directly through national pharmacy brands like CVS, Walgreens and Walmart, all of which include free standard shipping.

If you use Cigna, you may even be able to pay less online for the same medications you’d otherwise buy in-store due to buying a higher quantity when the medication is dispensed.

Open to ordering from an online pharmacy? Check out home medication delivery services like PillPack or Express-Scripts*.

Another bonus: most home delivery pharmacy services offer the convenience of ordering prescriptions online.

The key here is to ensure you’re receiving the exact same quality of medication by ordering online as you would in store so do your research to be certain this is the case.


3) Take Advantage of Your Tax Credits

Did you know you may be eligible for tax credits or deductions based on how you file your taxes?

If you file as:

  • Individual
  • Married
  • Married Filing Separately

Claiming your parent as a dependent could impact your tax payments. There are:

But how can you find out how to file for maximum credits?

Tax prep programs like TurboTax TaxAct, and of course the IRS can help you figure out the best way to file. But first you must determine if you’re eligible for these credits.

Read up on resources to discover:

And find out if you qualify for tax credits or deductions. Imagine how much you could save per year, and how you could redirect some of those savings towards getting even better care for your parents.


4) Free Respite Care Programs

Look into reduced-cost respite care programs. There are many offered by nonprofit and state organizations thanks to grants or funding from large organizations.

You may even be able to find a respite care program that specializes in providing a certain type of care, such as caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, or caring for a veteran.

Some respite care programs even provide free care to qualified families. If your family qualifies, you could actually end up providing more care to your parents without any added cost!

An additional benefit of respite care programs is that they give you time back, too. You may not have to leave work early after all, giving you the opportunity to earn money during the time you would have otherwise spent providing care, because a trained professional is there to look after Mom.

Or maybe you just need a break to take care of yourself. Either way, you have the freedom to decide how to spend your extra time without any worries or guilt because you can rest assured that your parent is getting the quality care they deserve.


BONUS IDEA: IndependaTV™

The IndependaTV™, a social engagement & health monitoring platform, can significantly improve caregiving costs by:

  1. Reducing the need for frequent driving trips
  2. Saving time because of automatic medication reminders and health check ins
  3. Use of an easily updateable calendar to keep track of appointments
  4. Making it easier to care from a distance using a 2-way platform
  5. Keeping Mom engaged with the family

On that last point, as much as keeping Mom feeling close to the family is a noble goal, it further helps reduce caregiving costs because aging adults who are socially interactive are much less likely to suffer from social isolation and the related costs that come with it (e.g. therapist visits, medication for depression).

Download the IndependaTV™ brochure now to learn more about how this solution can help you improve care for Mom and Dad.

* This is not an endorsement for any of these services and Independa is not responsible for any damages that may come as a result of using these services. Independa recommends doing your own research to determine if these services may be right for you. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor and/or insurance prior to making a decision.

Download Our Brochure


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  • Our guests use the video chat and photo and message sharing features of Independa to stay connected with their families. In fact this week we admitted a guest who has a daughter in Georgia and another in Italy. I spoke with the daughter about how to share photos and messages and to make video calls from her Independa device, and later went to see the guest about how it was going. She said to me “Kelly this video chat is so cool! I don’t care how long I have to be in here now because I can see my daughters!” It’s just amazing to see one of our guests be able to connect with a loved one all the way from Italy!

    Kelly Miles, Director of Rec Therapy
  • You don’t need to keep calling me now to remind me, my TV just told me to take my medication!

    93 Year Old Independa User
  • I love that Dad can get digital photos now. He didn’t want a Facebook account so the only time he would see any photos was when we came over to visit and we’d show him on our iPhone. Now he gets them himself on the TV all the time, and when people come to visit him he proudly shows them his photo album on the TV.

    USA Properties
  • I’ve been using video chat and it has opened up my world – my family who live close by still visit once a week, but now I get to see them every day. I also get to see the rest of the family who live interstate and can’t come to visit. I also video chat with old friends who I haven’t seen for years. It has made such a big difference to my life, I don’t feel isolated anymore. I highly recommend this to other people; it really does change your life.

    USA Properties
  • I live in California, my 80 year-old dad lives in Texas and my 21 year-old daughter lives in Colorado. My daughter spends all her time on social media using her smart phone, whereas my dad spends all his time watching TV, he doesn’t understand social media and doesn’t have a smart phone. Independa is great because not only does it bring us closer despite the geographical distance between us, it bridges the gap between the generations because it uses the technology they are most comfortable with.

    USA Properties
  • We use the video chat feature in the resident’s TV to get the entire circle of care together at once; we will have the nurse and the physical therapist in the room with the resident, and we will then video call their family. That way everyone who is involved in their care gets the same message at the same time and can ask questions while we are present so there is no confusion. One time when we were working with a deaf resident, we were able to arrange for her daughter to sign via video chat and translate what we were saying and the questions her mother had; it made such a huge difference.

    Wellbridge at Brighton
  • My dad was on the Honor Flight to DC today. An amazing trip for a veteran. I was able to meet him at the Korean War Memorial. He is a Korean War veteran. I was able to send pictures of the entire experience to my mom at home throughout the day. Mom was thrilled, and when my dad gets home he has all the pictures from his trip on his TV and can even play a slideshow. Amazing!!! Thank you!

    Kendal At Home
  • Video chat on the TV is great! I was using FaceTime on my iPad to see the grandkids and I thought that was the greatest thing, but seeing them all on the big TV is truly incredible, it’s like they are in the room with me. I love it!

    USA Properties
  • When Lillian broke her hip a week before her Grandson’s wedding, she and the family were broken hearted because they thought she would have to miss this very special day. Thankfully, she had chosen Wellbridge of Brighton for her short-term rehab. “I’m going to my Grandson’s wedding” she proudly told the staff as she received the video call through her TV and was instantly ‘seated’ in the front row for the ceremony!

    Wellbridge of Brighton
  • I travel a lot for work. I used to worry myself sick about not being able to be there if Mom needed me. She says the smartphone I got her is too small, too complicated, and hard to see, but she loves using Independa. Now she can see all her shows and we can video chat so I can make sure she’s taking her medicine. It’s such a relief to check in anytime and know she’s OK.

    Laura P.