Caring for Aging Parents–Oregon Options

Daughter, caregiver or advocate for aging parents?

I loved caring for my mom. I also support you as you care for aging parents.You are lucky to be in Oregon. Oregon leads the nation in alternatives to nursing homes. If you live in the Portland area, you have a lot of choices for aging parents. Five options are listed below. An additional blog post will discuss other facilities and Rosi’s experiences with her Mom. Links are provided to additional information from the State of Oregon (in blue), and private agencies (in green).

In-Home Care Options

1–Care for them yourself, at your home.

This is a great option if you have children. Because then your children get to grow up in a multi-generational environment, learn about responsibility for aging parents, hear stories from grandparents, experience a family of sharing and caring. If your parents have limited financial resources and income, they may qualify for various services, including Medicaid and you may qualify as a Family Care Provider. You would get paid by the State of Oregon at the prevailing rates for an Adult Foster Home for Seniors. You may need to make some home modifications and take classes to meet the licensing requirements.

2–Hire personal caregivers or an agency to provide part time care at their home.

You or they need to do careful screenings and background checks, manage the finances and reporting for private employment, supervise and have back up caregivers if you hire privately.

3–Go through an agency.

It is not quite so much work for you, but higher cost if you take this option. This can work well when you find a good fit of stable, experienced, compassionate and reliable people with high integrity. However, sometimes you experience less consistent care that you will need to monitor. This option works best when your aging parents’ level of care is not too high, they love their home and function well in it, their cognitive abilities have not declined much, and they don’t need night care.

4–Hire a professional geriatric care manager

When you are at a distance, this is the best option. Also, care managers can save your sanity if your parents’ care needs become complicated. Professionals may include geriatric nurses or nurse practitioners or social workers. Whatever the background, you will find them to be a huge help. They have a pool of reliable, experienced, well-vetted caregivers they can recommend for you to hire.

Otherwise, if you did the hiring yourself, heavy care and night care might mean all the hiring and screening needs of #2 plus full time, around-the-clock care. This is often too much for children of aging parents. Instead, the geriatric care manager can be there, to handle emergencies, screen and monitor caregivers, arrange for medical appointments and much more. It can be a huge relief.

If you can manage this in your parents’ own home, there are multiple benefits. First, your aging parents don’t have to move or feel displaced. Next, other siblings may be willing to help out at a beloved family home. And finally, with the support of a geriatric care manager, you won’t feel so trapped.

If you want more counseling, you may get some support here. Or, find other resources from this counselor.

Or, Moving Out?

5– Retirement Communities or Facilities.

These usually provide none or minimal care. You will need to watch if your parent’s needs increase. Also, the State of Oregon does not license them. However, they are often the best choice when your aging parents are tired of cooking for themselves. Or tired of mowing the lawn or the maintenance of their own home. Or when they simply want to downsize. I have heard some elders call it “being on vacation”, because their basic needs are met, and they can have fun.

This option works well when your parents would like to socialize with others of their age but don’t need care. Many retirement facilities take residents on outings and to medical appointments, and the activities schedule can make the aging experience an enriching time of life. However, if their care needs increase, it is common to hire personal caregivers part time, or private agencies, as in #2.

Next article includes more options for moving out:

Assisted Living? Residential Care? Adult Care Home? Continuing Care Retirement Communities? Finding the right care home for your aging parents


Rosi worked as a caregiver in an adult foster home, and ran a placement service for families looking to find care for aging parents for 12 years in Southern Oregon. She then cared for her own mother for almost 15 years in various Portland area facilities.

Currently, she is a massage therapist in private practice (since 2009). She enjoys working both with elders and their advocates/caregivers/children who are looking for self-care or stress relief. Call 503-708-2911 or schedule an appointment at your convenience– Schedule Appointment