Smiling caregiver daughter holding hands with her aging mother

How to communicate with your aging parents about their health (and get them to listen)

For adults with aging parents, the time often comes where you must discuss their future plans with them. Some of the common topics involve making decisions about money, health, senior living, and other potentially difficult subjects. At some point, you’ll need to discuss sensitive subjects such as whether your aging parent requires home modifications to enhance their safety at home or whether it’s time to consider home care, personal care, or companion care services. As a family, you want to be supportive without being overly controlling. It is hard enough for our parents to face potential limitations that threaten their independence, such as mobility challenges that increase their risk of falls. Often, family members can struggle to bring up these important topics and leave them unresolved, which can cause stress and strain on the family. According to a 2015 survey from the National Council on Aging (NCOA), 75% of respondents expressed a desire to live out the rest of their lives in their current homes. It’s no surprise that seniors desire to remain independent, but the challenge for many families is how to maintain as much independence as possible, even if there are limitations to what their aging parents can do. There are also financial considerations to weigh. Being prepared for the future is one of the most important reasons to start discussions with aging parents. Data from a 2019 survey shows that more than half of U.S. adults (57%) do not have a written will or trust. Yet, not having a clear understanding of your parent’s wishes and legal documentation to ensure those wishes are followed can put a lot at risk. Children of aging parents and their siblings have much to think about, including who can provide what support and, in some cases, what caregiver roles may be necessary. Here are 50 great tips from leading resources to help you start and maintain productive conversations with your aging parents about their future.

Tips for Communicating with Your Aging Parents

  1. Really listen and let them guide the conversation. “Make sure to take the time to really listen to your parents. If they bring up something that seems unrelated to the matter at hand, it’s always tempting to interrupt and steer them back on track. But if you pay attention, you may find that a seemingly irrelevant point indicates a concern you weren’t aware of. Encourage your parents to reminisce and pay careful attention to the story behind the story.” – Connie Matthiessen, Improve Elderly Communication: Demystifying Your Aging Parents’ New Stage of Life,; Twitter: @Caring
  2. Never argue and correct a parent with Alzheimer’s or dementia. “Don’t argue with or try to correct your parent. You will not win. You can’t convince someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia that they are wrong. And, you will not be able to convince them that your reality is the true reality. Indeed, trying to correct them only adds to their confusion. This isn’t easy to do, but it’s necessary — you must accept the fact that when a person who has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia says something, they believe to be true, it is in fact a reality for them.” – Mike Gamble, How to Communicate Effectively with Your Elderly Parent, Our Aging Parents
  3. Ask a thoughtful question instead of just “giving advice.” “If you are tempted to give advice, see if you can ask a question instead. None of us like to be told what to do, so planting a suggestion and letting your parent mull over his or her choices might be a more effective strategy. If you think your parent needs to hear a hard truth, (such as it might be time to give up the car) it might be better to have a third party, like a family physician, start the discussion.” –

Effective Communication Tips for Talking to Elderly Parents, Village Green Retirement Campus; Twitter: @VGRetirement

  1. Work together with siblings to gain a common understanding. “One of the biggest problems siblings face is their differing personalities. Not everyone does things the same way. Siblings can have different ideas about everything, from where their parent should live to how they pay their bills. While the practical issues may be easier to sort out, the emotional issues are harder. Siblings may come to terms with their parents’ declining health at different times. It’s important to be understanding of other people’s opinions and emotions; there isn’t just one right way to do things or feel about a situation. Plus, differences in personalities can actually help when it comes to dividing up responsibilities.” – How To Communicate Effectively With Siblings While Caring For Your Aging Parents, Greenfields Geneva
  2. Don’t underestimate the effect of a simple email, phone call or text message. “If you’ve got a computer or laptop handy, don’t discount the effectiveness of a simple email. With email, you can easily contact a group of family members to coordinate caregiving, and if you have a camera in your phone or a scanner, you can scan or snap photos of important documents to share via e-mail. Or, if you need to update someone right away, you can use that same phone to send a picture message or text. Caregivers can also send pictures of loved ones or daily updates through email and text messages. Of course, don’t forget that a quick phone call can often resolve a problem more quickly than an email or text.” – Sarah Stevenson, 10 Ways Families Can Stay Connected When Caring for an Aging Parent, A Place For Mom; Twitter: @APlaceForMom
  3. Allow your parents to be part of the decision-making process. “Allowing them to be part of the decision-making process can be a huge asset in solving certain problems. Extending choice to our parents is one effective way of helping them feel in control. For example, if the issue under discussion is turning over their finances, you might say, ‘Give me your ideas of how you think this transition can best be handled?’ By allowing your parent to make suggestions, you are giving them a voice and an invitation to be part of the solution. As they take that control, they are more likely to adapt to the changes that are being suggested because they are part of the decision-making.” – Gary Gilles, LCPC, Eight Tips for Talking to Your Aging Parents About Important Issues, Mental Help; Twitter: @MentalHelpNet
  4. Speak distinctly to make sure that you are well understood. “Some older adults do not like to admit that they are hard of hearing or have trouble understanding the conversation around them. Remain calm and talk in a gentle, matter-of-fact way. Speak louder, if necessary, but do not shout. Make sure to enunciate clearly and avoid mumbling and talking too quickly. Focus on one idea at a time, and keep sentences short and simple. If your loved one still isn’t grasping what you are saying, try phrasing it differently and using different words.” – Marlo Sollitto, 7 Techniques for Better Communication with Seniors, AgingCare; Twitter: @AgingCare
  5. Keep notes from your important discussions. “Since this is an ongoing process, when your parent expresses what they would like to do in the future, be ready to record their thoughts. Recording thoughts and wishes makes it easier to follow up in future conversations. Based on what they say, you can figure out what needs to be done and what steps to take. It is also helpful to have notes when updating siblings and family members. Your notes can also prompt future discussions.” – Catherine Hodder, How to Have Difficult Conversations With Your Aging Parents, Next Avenue; Twitter: @NextAvenue
  6. Create a schedule with your loved ones to balance care responsibilities. “For many, our responsibilities extend beyond the needs of our aging parents and carry over to our own families. Those obligations don’t end when a parent needs extra care. By discussing a schedule with your loved one, you can establish a balance between his needs and the needs of your family. For example, you may have a nurse stay in the home on certain days with an understanding you will take your aging parent to all of the doctor’s appointments. A routine can provide comfort to your loved one, because he will know when to expect you or other helpers when care is needed.” – Amy Osmond Cook, Things to Discuss With Aging Parents Before Becoming Their Caregiver, DailyCaring; Twitter: DailyCaring
  7. Offer your loved one choices whenever possible. “Whenever possible and appropriate, offer an older adult choices when interacting with her or him. This can be something as simple as asking whether the senior would like to have choice A or choice B for lunch. Having the ability to exercise choice can provide the older adult a greater sense of confidence, esteem, and security, as the senior feels the power to be proactive in life.” – Preston Ni, How to Communicate Effectively with Older Adults, Psychology Today; Twitter: @psychtoday
  8. Don’t embarrass a loved one for forgetting how to use technology. “Learning new technology is tough for any adult, but gadgets with lots of buttons and options pose a special challenge for someone whose cognition or eyesight is failing. Even those of us with nimble fingers and well-functioning frontal lobes can be stymied by a new device that labels the controls differently from the one we are used to.” – Linda Bernstein, 8 Things Not to Say to Your Aging Parents, Next Avenue; Twitter: @NextAvenue
  9. Use “I” statements to make sure you clarify your opinion. “Literally, this means beginning any declarative sentence with the word ‘I.’ This means talking about ‘My view,’ ‘My perception,’ and especially ‘My feelings’ rather than talking as if you have a corner on the truth and anything your parents says not only contradicts you but is wrong… ‘I’ statements can lead to negotiation and sharing, ‘You’ statements may lead to war.” – Mark Edinberg, Ph.D., The Do’s and Don’ts of Communicating With Aging Parents, Elder Care Online

Tips for Starting Difficult Conversations with Your Parents

  1. Recognize your emotions before beginning a conversation. “Often we are fearful for our parents’ safety or are worried about future issues that might arise. For this reason, it’s important to take a deep breath before having a conversation about a sensitive topic and recognize the feelings that you have about the issue. Ask yourself, are you scared? Feeling overwhelmed? Angry? Just recognizing your feelings may help you feel calmer before talking with your parent. If appropriate, you may want to share with them how you are feeling.” – Dr. Amy D’Aprix, Tips for Communicating with Aging Parents, Home Instead Senior Care’s; Twitter: @homeinstead
  2. Pace yourself and don’t force a resolution in one discussion. “Forcing a tough discussion or pushing for a swift decision may result in less than ideal outcomes. You may spend the entire talk de-escalating a situation that arose simply because of the conversation itself, and wind up needing to postpone the talk to another time. If a conversation cannot be finished during the course of the visit, acknowledge this and set up a time in the coming weeks to follow up on the initial discussion. Ideally, you should do so no more than 3 weeks later.” – Steven Barlam, Broaching Difficult Conversations With Aging Parents, LivHOME; Twitter: @livhome
  3. Hold a family meeting to facilitate shared decision-making. “Family meetings are a way for siblings, parents and other concerned relatives or friends to try to clarify the situation, work out conflicts and set up a care plan that, ideally, all can agree upon. If the meeting is likely to be contentious, or if you want an experienced, objective voice to guide it, involve a facilitator such as a social worker, counselor, geriatric care manager or trusted outside party who will ensure that all participants have a chance to be heard. You may need more than one meeting.” – Bonnie Lawrence, A sibling’s guide to caring for aging parents, PBS NewsHour; Twitter: @NewsHour
  4. If you are ignored, think hard about how important the matter is. “Is it a safety issue relating to a condition like dementia or an issue that is just irritating but inconsequential? If it is a safety concern relating to dementia or Alzheimer’s, then it’s important to intervene. On the flipside, most people don’t respond well if they feel they are constantly being nagged, so it might help your case, in the long run, to stop insisting your parents update their phones, join a fitness class, or other similar tasks. As the saying goes, pick your battles. Your parents are much more likely to take your concerns seriously if you learn to only bring attention to certain ones.” – Sally Abrahms, 8 Expert Tips for When Aging Parents Won’t Listen, A Place For Mom; Twitter: @APlaceForMom
  5. Avoid too much pressure at the outset of a tough conversation. “Your objective should be to create an environment of understanding with your parents so they feel comfortable having sensitive end-of-life conversations. Try to present your points without using forceful language. When you want to suggest a change, start small to allow your parents to adjust their views. Gentle talks will give you better results than applying pressure or forcing your own opinion on them.” – 10 Tips for Having Tough Conversations with Aging Parents, AmeriCare; Twitter: @AmeriCare
  6. Set the right tone to make sure everyone involved is comfortable. “There’s work to be done before you even start a conversation with your parent. Thoughtfully choose the timing, location and participants of the conversation in advance to promote a relaxed, neutral, non-threatening environment. It’s important that everyone – especially mom or dad – feels comfortable and able to participate in the discussion. If your siblings want to be involved, make sure you agree on your goals and strategy ahead of time and can present a united front.” – Kai Stinchcombe, Tough stuff: how to take on difficult discussions with aging parents, True Link; Twitter: @truelinkfin
  7. Enlist help from other allies that your parents respect. “Talk to siblings ahead of time, and try to get on the same page. If the concerns primarily revolve around one parent, does your other parent/the spouse agree? Don’t go into the conversation ignoring key influencers. They can quickly undermine the situation (or be your ally). A third party can be useful especially if you aren’t getting anywhere. A pastor, your parent’s trusted doctor, or a geriatric care manager can help lead or mediate the conversations.” – The Difficult Conversations: Talking to Elderly Parents in Denial, Aging Wisely; Twitter: @AgingWisely
  8. Stay positive and realistic during the conversation. “It’s important for everyone involved to stay calm and listen. After all, the main point of the talk is for parents to be open about how and where they want to live in their golden years, and the activities they’d like to continue. But families should never make a promise they might not be able to keep, especially if it involves something major like helping their parents stay in their home.” – Nina Herndon, Worried about your aging parents? How to have ‘The Talk’, The Mercury News; Twitter: @mercnews
  9. Agree on common goals that everyone can support. “No matter what differences you have, find some common ground. There’s a good chance you and the other person have the same end goal—you just have different means of achieving it. Recapping the fact that both of you have a common goal can be a helpful reminder that you don’t need to fight against one another. Instead, you can work together to achieve your goals.” – Amy Morin, Strategies to Make Tough Conversations More Effective, Verywell Health; Twitter: @Verywell

Talking to Your Aging Parents About Money

  1. Discuss finances before you need to make major decisions. “It’s often easier to talk about changes when they don’t have to be made now. It doesn’t seem so personal so your parent doesn’t get defensive. Make it seem like two adults having a conversation about the future. Let them have input and say what they want. You can work with them to make their goals happen and offer advice.” – How to Talk About Your Elderly Parent’s Finances, Village Green Retirement Campus; Twitter: @VGRetirement
  2. Ask about money during a quiet time. “Finding a quiet time to ask your parents to engage in a financial dialogue with you is essential. Be certain to avoid busy holiday times or events where you are likely to be distracted. While you may want to talk today about money, remember your parent may need some time to adjust to the idea of breaking their money silence with you. Depending on your personality, waiting for a quiet time to invite them to engage in a money talk may be challenging. In this situation, patience does pay off.” – Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, 7 tips for talking to your aging parents about money, PBS NewsHour; Twitter: @NewsHour
  3. Help get all of their paperwork in order early. “Often, I find, it’s the adult children who avoid the topics of a Power Of Attorney, a will and burial vs. cremation. They can be the ones in denial. My own adult children are very uncomfortable when I talk about the fact that I ‘won’t be around forever.’ They found my presenting them with my legal papers difficult to handle. I simply told them that now that I’ve covered the legal aspects of my death, I intend to get on with the business of living as I always have. We all got through it.” – Carol Bradley Bursack, Families need to communicate in order to plan for aging loved one’s care, ElderCareLink; Twitter: @eldercarelink1
  4. Consider using a direct approach if you and your parents have a good relationship. “You don’t necessarily have to ask them to tell you everything at once. Instead, you could start by asking about particular aspects of their finances. For example, when my mom started showing signs of memory loss, I suggested that we meet with an attorney to update her estate planning documents – her will, living will, and power of attorney. That then led to other conversations and a trip to her bank to put me on her account as her representative payee because I was going to have to handle financial transactions for her as her memory declined.” – Cameron Huddleston, 10 Ways to Talk to Your Aging Parents About Their Finances, Kiplinger; Twitter: @kiplinger
  5. Get familiar with the truth about your parents complete financial situation. “What is the truth about your parent’s situation – finances, health, and what they want for care? The reality is that when it comes to finances, most people (parents and their children) are largely in the dark. What are the rules around social security? How much do they currently spend on healthcare and how do Medicare and insurance supplements work? What is the optimal, tax efficient, drawdown schedule for their retirement assets – and how far will these assets take them? Do they have other assets that they could manage to their advantage (like a home that could be downsized) to give them a higher quality of life, and would they want that?” Catherine Flax, Aging Parents and Money- Difficult Conversations that Need to be Had, Thrive Global on Medium; Twitter: @thrive
  6. Share your personal story to help parents in debt see the positives. “Focus on good news instead of bad. If you are concerned about your parents’ current financial state, a way to broach the subject is to talk about how much better things are for you (and your family) since you started getting out of debt and making a budget—after you’ve done so, of course. Maybe it’s your communication level, your sense of freedom, your reduced stress and so on. That would probably be well received by your parents; after all, who wouldn’t want to hear that their son or daughter is doing well?” – How To Talk To Your Parents About Money, Dave Ramsey; Twitter: @DaveRamsey
  7. Know when to get more involved in financial management. “Signs that your aging parent(s) may need help managing their financial affairs include late fees on bills, unpaid taxes, calls from creditors and inappropriate investment decisions. You may also suspect that Mom or Dad are being targeted by scam artists or see large donations to a questionable charity. The need to assume a more hands-on role may be temporary, if related to a short-term illness or medication side effect, or it may be for good.” – Shelly Gigante, Tips for talking money with your aging parent, MassMutual; Twitter: @massmutual
  8. Consider asking your loved one where you can help. “Another approach is to ask if there’s something you can take off their plates so they have more time to do what they like to do. You could start with a few things that aren’t money-related—like helping with grocery shopping, or finding a lawn mowing service. Then offer to help with income tax preparation. They may take you up on that! Because who really likes to do their taxes? It will give you access to some information about their financial situation and that opens the door for you to keep the conversation going.” – How to talk about money with your aging parents, Principal; Twitter: @Principal
  9. Don’t neglect to review long-term care financial support options. “When looking at long-term care solutions, be aware that private insurance and Medicare have some limitations. While Medicare and insurance do provide coverage for medical treatment and prescription drugs, custodial care such as long-term care facilities and home health care may be a different story.” – Barry Bridges, Taking Over Your Aging Parents’ Finances, The Simple Dollar; Twitter: @thesimpledollar
  10. Use current events as a springboard for a financial discussion. “The news of the day (financial markets, scams on seniors, etc.) can be an open door to ask them what they think and what steps they’ve taken to protect their money. If you come across a story online, print it off and give it to them (or email it if they’re tech savvy). Simple stuff like this can create an opportunity for dialogue.” – Chris Hogan, 8 Keys For Discussing Money With Your Parents, Chris Hogan; Twitter: @ChrisHogan360
  11. Review accounts and set up safeguards to protect against financial abuse. “In the best-case scenario, you and your parents should be reviewing financial accounts together to check for any signs of suspicious activity. If they’re not comfortable sharing their all financial details with you, at least discuss whether bills are being paid on time and whether they have any concerns about their finances. Next, make sure your parents have the right legal and financial protections in place. That includes a will, as well as a power of attorney for financial decisions. This document should spell out who your parents would like to have access to their financial accounts and what decisions they’re comfortable having that person make if they’re unable to manage their money.” – Rebecca Lake, How to Protect Aging Parents From Elder Financial Abuse, The Balance; Twitter: @thebalance

Talking to Your Aging Parents About Senior Living

  1. Back up your conversation points with real information. “Don’t just tell your loved one they should consider moving, show them how it can benefit them. Do your research. What kind of community would best suit their preferences — and pocketbooks? Would they prefer a community grounded in a religious tradition? A brand-new community or an established one with a good reputation? What best suits their financial goals — a refundable entrance fee, a rental arrangement, or a Life Care contract? Check out the amenities, the contracts and the promise of care. If a Life Plan Community is an option, look for one that’s accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).” – How to Talk to Your Aging Loved One About Moving, Greenfields Geneva
  2. Help to dispel the myths about senior living facilities. “Many people who haven’t been inside of a modern senior living community think it’s just a dreary, boring retirement home. Your loved one may be thinking the same thing. Explain to them that modern senior living facilities are, in fact, true communities. They feature modern and luxurious residences in a community neighborhood setting. Then explain how your loved one will thrive better at a community: They don’t have the responsibility of keeping up a home. They’ll have expert staff available 24 hours a day in case they need medical help or other assistance.” – Talking to Your Loved One About Senior Living, Brookdale Senior Living; Twitter: @brookdaleliving
  3. Recognize what parts of independence they would like to maintain. “They also may be unprepared to have their relationship with you change, and fear losing their independence. Keeping their concerns in mind during these discussions will help you answer their questions and respond to their objections. Discuss ways that you can potentially bring help into the home so they can remain living in their house longer. Emphasize that a move to assisted living does not mean they’ll no longer have control over their daily life. Most seniors actually find that, with the housekeeping, laundry and meals taken care of, they have much more free time for the things they actually enjoy doing.” – Lori Johnston, How to Talk to Aging Parents About Assisted Living, AgingCare; Twitter: @AgingCare
  4. Learn how important environment is for seniors.“Where you live influences how well you live as you grow older – meaning location and environment have an effect on everything from physical safety to mental health to longevity. The more you learn about this, the better prepared you’ll be. Exploring the options and learning more about successful aging can give you the confidence and credibility you need to begin this conversation.” Tips for Adults Talking to Their Parents About Senior Living Choices, Where You Live Matters; Twitter: @ASHA_wylm
  5. Don’t judge your loved ones in any way. “Don’t use the fact that you and your parent(s) may not have gotten along in your youth to force the idea of alternative care upon them. Think about how you would want to be treated if you were in their position (some day you will be!).  Leave your judgment at the door and go in with an open mind. Be prepared to accept your loved one’s choices. Support them in the decisions they make.” – Chelsea Sayegh, How to Talk to Your Parents About Assisted Living, United Methodist Homes; Twitter: @umhcaring  
  6. Go tour local assisted living facilities with your parents. “Contact a Senior Living Placement Specialist to assist you with the assessment of the needs, arranging the tours and the evaluation of each community. Many modern facilities are more like retirement communities than nursing homes and you can relieve some of Mom or Dad’s fears by showing them the kind of environment and activities that are available at such places. From musical presentations and poker nights to bingo and dancing, these facilities can offer seniors a host of social interactions.” – How to Talk to Your Parents About Assisted Living, SeniorPath; Twitter: @SeniorPathCO
  7. Address your concerns about their current situation openly. “Address your concerns about their current situation openly and completely. Be realistic – and help them be as well – about their health care needs and safety and the potential needs they may have in the near future. Be candid about the impact their care may be having on you, and emphasize your overwhelming concern for their well-being. Now is not the time to dance around delicate topics. Being honest and upfront is the best approach, but make sure you do it with a tone of empathy and respect.” – Talking to Your Parents About Senior Living, Assisted Living Locators; Twitter: @ALL_Locators
  8. Have an open mind and consider a Plan B if necessary. “So, you tried these conversation-starters and were met with resistance or were even shutdown outright; that’s okay. This is a process. Consider sitting down with experts on the issues that surround aging such as your parents’ doctor, attorney, or even financial planner. Hearing about the potential challenges of aging in place from an impartial third-party may be easier on your mom and dad, and may make them more willing to earnestly consider their future housing options.” – Brad Breeding, 4 Ways to Start a Senior Living Discussion with Aging Parents, myLifeSite; Twitter: @my_lifesite
  9. Avoid letting yourself or other family fall into old roles. “When adult siblings gather, it’s almost impossible to avoid falling into your childhood roles. The older sibling may try to take charge even if it’s the middle child who spends the most time with their mom or dad. Let go of competition with siblings and old grudges in order to make the best joint decision for your aging parents. This means putting egos aside and realizing that, even though you share the same parents, your views on life may be very different from your siblings’.” – How to Talk with Siblings About Senior Care for a Parent, Five Star Senior Living; Twitter: @5StarSenior
  10. Don’t forget to check-in with your loved one after a change in their environment. “Once your mother selects a place and settles in, visit frequently—by whatever means possible. Check to see what is working and what isn’t. Where possible, make further changes to match her needs to the facility. Finally, live up to the promise you made to yourself. You meant it when you decided that you wanted what’s best for your mom. Whether this turns out to be true depends a great deal on how often you make contact with her once she’s found a new place to live.” – Kerry Patterson, Preparing for a Crucial Conversation with an Aging Parent, Crucial Skills; Twitter: @VitalSmarts

Talking to Your Aging Parents About Their Health

  1. When first initiating conversations about care and health start casually. “Start by slowly asking a few small, casual questions every so often. You can mention that you sometimes struggle with a certain task and ask if your loved one does too. If you or your loved one has an immediate need, you’ll have less time to ease into a conversation. Express your concerns in an empathetic manner and do your best to let your loved one participate as much as possible in the decision-making.”FAQs and Answers, Care Conversations
  2. Keep up-to-date on your parents’ current health situation. “It’s important to have some basic knowledge of your parents’ health, so that if an accident happens or your parent becomes unable to communicate, you can swiftly and accurately apprise an emergency responder or doctor of the situation. This is beneficial for both parties, as you can assess and act upon red flags when you see them, and your parents can receive quicker and more comprehensive care based on the information you can provide and supplement.” – Having Difficult Conversations With Your Aging Parents, Reader’s Digest Canada; Twitter: @readersdigestca
  3. Ask your loved ones if they are comfortable to share information with you. “Ask your parents to sign the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) form at doctors’ offices or hospitals. It gives health care professionals permission to share medical information about your parent with you. Some doctors will divulge information if the patient gives oral approval, but having the HIPAA form ensures you’ll get answers.” – Sally Abrahms, How to Talk to Your Parent’s Doctor, A Place For Mom; Twitter: @APlaceForMom
  4. If possible, accompany your loved one to doctor’s appointments. “Attending the doctor’s appointments gives you the opportunity to share your contact information with the physician, ask questions and stay abreast of changes to your parent’s medical care plan. You can also discuss methods of contacting the doctor between appointments. In addition to receiving phone calls, many physicians are willing to accept emails and text messages.” – How to Talk to the Doctor About Your Aging Parent’s Health, Seniority – The Mavencare Blog; Twitter: @gomavencare
  5. When the time comes consider discussing a reduction in the amount of driving. “Unless your parents are incapable of driving safely, the conversation does not have to be an ‘either-or’ proposition. An effective approach might be a reduction in driving miles, times, or routes based upon their needs and capability. In Dad’s case, he recognized that some instances caused him more stress than others and he did not want to be a danger to others. At the same time, though, he would not accept a total loss of driving mobility.” – Michael Lewis, 6 Must-Have Conversations When Caring for Elderly Parents, Money Crashers; Twitter: @MoneyCrashers
  6. Holidays can be a great opportunity check-in on your parent’s health. “When you’re reunited with your aging parents over the holidays, you might notice that they seem frailer and more in need of assistance than they were the last time you saw them. While you’re together, try to assess their overall levels of health and independence. Watch their ability to handle daily life and personal care tasks, how much energy they seem to have, and how well they’re managing their medications. Ask them about how they’re feeling. If it seems like they’re struggling to manage their health on their own, start the conversation about whether it’s time to start looking at assisted living.” – 5 Important Talks to Have with Aging Parents Over the Holidays, Catholic Eldercare; Twitter: @catheldercare
  7. Help your loved one(s) cope with conditions that require medication. “It can be challenging for seniors to accept that they’re no longer in good health. When they’re diagnosed with a condition that requires them to take medication regularly, caregivers may find that their loved ones are reluctant to take their prescriptions. Caregivers should remind their loved ones that even though they may presently feel well, their medications are essential to maintaining their well-being. If seniors are experiencing debilitating symptoms, it’s always best to notify their doctors. There may be alternative medications they can take, or the physician may inform you that feelings of discomfort are only temporary.” – Having Difficult Conversations with Parents, Elmcroft; Twitter: @ElmcroftLiving
  8. If a loved one seems depressed start the conversation gently. “If you notice your loved one exhibiting signs of depression — including sadness or feelings of despair, loss of interest in socializing or hobbies, lack of motivation and energy, increased use of alcohol or other drugs, and neglecting personal care — start the conversation out gently by asking mom or dad how they’ve been feeling lately. Ask gentle probing questions like, ‘are you happy with the way life is going right now/’ or, ‘I know it’s been hard since we lost dad; how are you handling things emotionally?’” – 3 Challenging Conversations to Have with an Aging Parent, The Arbors; Twitter: @ArborsLiving

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