How to Deal With Aging Parents


Statistics show that people are living longer and longer. The age that people live to has grown dramatically in the past 20 years. Because elderlyhand1people are living longer there is usually greater need for assistance as we age. In the majority of households the assistance that seniors receive usually comes from their children.

In many families seniors never imagined that they might need assistance from the children. Likewise, many children of aging parents never thought that they would be assisting their parents as they age. Sometimes, this children assisting parent role reversal can lead to conflicts for the children and the parents. Because of this, many children want to know how to deal with aging parents.

There are six (6) key steps to follow on how to deal with aging parents:

1. You should prepare yourself and your family for the undertaking. Even though this is your parent, it is like including another from member of the family in a significant way. Your spouse and your children should be aware of what you plan to do. There will be less resistance or conflict if everyone knows the plan. If you can get your spouse or children to actively participate that is even better.

2. Remember that you are at a different stage in life than your parent. For most of us, development does not stop once we reach adulthood. You are not the same person you were when you were 21. Your parent is not the same person they were when they were your age.

3. Try to look at their concerns from their perspective. Respect their desire for control and regularity. None of us are comfortable with change and this is even truer with seniors. Remember that the only thing worse than change, is change that you have no control over. Be sure to make your parents feel that they still have some control over their life.

4. Try to help your parent maintain the highest level of independence for as long as possible. The level of independence you start with will depend on the unique situation of your family. Don't be afraid to include assistance and decrease the level of independence if necessary.

5. Have a management plan for the essentials like money management; bills; health plans; and any necessary equipment or modifications.

6. Most importantly, help your parent maintain as good of health as possible. No one will live forever, but there are things we can do to help maintain our health as long as possible. Studies show that this factor, more than any other, can make the greatest difference in the quality of life of your aging parent. It is this last point that most children of aging parents seem to have the most difficulty with. For assistance with how to deal with an aging parent, I recommend consulting a Health Concierge. A Health Concierge is a professional that is expert in decisions about how to deal with aging parents.

By S. Brian Lindsay

Dr. Lindsay has more than 18 years of clinical practice experience and reviews new health products and services. For more information about a Health Concierge or a Free Consultation, go to Health Virtual Assistant Concierge

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26 Responses

  1. [...] seniors emergency room experience.   They have taken the lead in senior emergency care and how to deal with aging parents and will be a model for the rest of the country to watch and learn from. Senior Citizen [...]
  2. [...] room experience.They have have been putting themselves in the lead of senior emergency care and how to deal with aging parents and are now an example for the whole country to watch and learn [...]
  3. [...] room experience.They have have been putting themselves in the lead of senior emergency care and how to deal with aging parents and are now an example for the whole country to watch and learn [...]
  4. [...] seniors emergency room experience.   They have taken the lead in senior emergency care and how to deal with aging parents and will be a model for the rest of the country to watch and learn [...]
  5. [...] Click here to read the full blog and learn the six key steps: [...]
  6. Caregivers have to deal with the medical world, legal concerns, financial issues, and other family responsibilities. Though no one can prevent illness and, eventually, death, the chaos surrounding the process is a different story. It doesn't have to be this hard. Care Support of America are professionals who can work with struggling families. Our nurse care manager/consultants assist families through the maze with guidance, education and support.. Caregivers, you are not alone.
  7. Family involvement is imperative. Even if the family isn't sure of things, they can get answers.
  8. This topic is exploding everywhere and the problems will continue to grow without proper planning. Can't stress enough the importance of not only focusing on the medical status of the aging parent, but focusing all of areas of their life. Children can not have too much information. Having worked in hospitals for majority of my career, families are rarely prepared to take on the role of caregiver. I have a company, Full Circle Advisors, that addresses just this need.
  9. Your Message My Father-In-Law is 88 yrs old and confined into wheelchair because of his own doings. He weights nearly 300 lbs. He will not do anything for himself . He has gotten my Mother-In-Law (85) to the point where she is basically his slave and jumps to every wim. He is verbally abusive by ordering her around like he's God and tells her she would have nothing if it weren't for him. He absolutely refuses to go to a Dr. and we all know that he has issues with his Prostate and rectum and general health. He is constantly having accidents in his pants but refuses to wear Men's Depnds.. We are all tired of cleaning his waste from his underwear . His family Dr. does nothing to help us . He just keeps refillng his perscriptions when they come due. There are no Doctors around that will accept him as a new patient, probably because of his age. His stubbornness is unbelievable and refuses to listen to reason. My husband and I try to do as much as we can for both of my In-Laws but now my husband (their only child)and Mother-In-Laws health is declining due to Cancer. We are unable to have anyone come in to help us because he refuses to let strangers in the house. His brothers and sisters have disowned him and want nothing to do with him and my Mother-In-Laws family are all deceased or live on the other side of USA.. We are really in a pickle and need some advice from you all. Please drop me a line with suggestions. It would be so deeply appreciated.
  10. The one sure thing that needs to be done is make sure that you and your husband stay healthy and take care of yourself. It is so easy for the care givers to lose themselves while in the caregiver role. There is really only so much you can do for others. It is much easier said than done, but you can't force anyone to receive care if they don't want it. Fine line between self-determination and neglect. If you are concerned about someone's well-being, you can always call Adult Protective Services. Other than that, do what you can, but take time for yourself.
  11. Can you share some stories with me that are funny albeit sad? I am collecting stories for a book to help people laugh at these pathetic situations that so many of us are in. Dealing with it with humor helps my sanity and I want to share a book with everyone;
  12. In reference to #4: Much more can be done to help families help their parents stay independent longer. One way is by knowing about major risk factors such as falls and the types of falls they need to be aware of. For example, few know that bed falls are the second leading cause of fall death according to the National Safety Council. Healthcare providers focus on furniture and using the toilet but not the bed. This is a knowledge gap and safety issue that is unknown and unaddressed.<br><br>Another area that is overlooked is the use of quality assistive aids. All too often price over efficacy is the determining factor in choosing or recommending. When it comes to fall prevention quality needs to trump cheap. Caregivers and their parents are the ones who suffer the burden of lost mobility, financial consequences and caregiver strain. <br><br>We need to bridge the knowledge gap providers have especially therapists who we are now relying on to recommend assistive aids and assess our parents for fall risks. Recommending products outside of the intended use and not knowing the intended use has helped to create a proliferation of cheap ineffective aids that often create more risk than benefit. We need to give our at risk population knowledge based quality solutions not mystery band-aids out of convenience and lack of knowledge.
  13. [...] How to Deal With Aging Parents | Elder Care ABC [...]
  14. We have just introduced a program (DVD with workbook) designed to support the creation of active / vibrant partnerships between elders and elder caregivers as each are challenged to live more fully and work together to make the best of any situation as individuals and partners / members of a community. This program is a very uplifting experience that can move the participants to a new / better place ... please check it out at
  15. Better adult day services will be important in the near future. Children of aging parents is a fast growing part of the population. Learning to deal with and provide assistance with the health care of one’s elders should be a concern for all citizens as the world’s baby boomers age. Most of the world’s industrialized nations face a growing need for medical assistance as a smaller population faces taking care of a larger elderly population. More nurses and physicians will find they can help more caregivers by advocating for better adult day care services. It provides a higher level of care at a lower cost. More Families will find they can provide better for their loved ones via adult day services rather than nursing home care. It provides a higher quality of life for the elderly at a lower burnout rate for the caregivers. The elderly will find better adult day care provides added benefits for them as well. It provides greater sociability, greater peer interaction and less dependency and feelings of being a burden on their loved ones. <em>Better adult day care services should be a greater concern for all Baby Boomers</em> (and children of boomers) while we have the time to plan ahead. It’s better for boomers and better for the nation’s health care system.
  16. Your Message<a href="#comment-1072" rel="nofollow">@Ronald Garner:</a> Hi Ronald, I agree with you and I hope that those who are behind reform and care for the elderly see not only the savings adult day care offers, but also the peace of mind for families.
  17. My mom was caring for my dad (who had a stroke in 1990) when she went into the hospital for a "routine" cardiac bypass. She did well, but 4 days later had a massive stroke. She was unable to walk or talk. All of a sudden our family had to figure out what to do with mom and dad. All 4 of us kids lived in different states. I wish we had planned on what to do if this situation occurred. Our family went under the assumption that Mom would outlive Dad since he was the one with all the health issues. The best thing our family could have done was Step #1. PREPLAN!!
  18. Your Message<a href="#comment-756" rel="nofollow">@suzi colman:</a> Suzi, I have a bunch of stories I would love to share with you! One of my favorites is having to get a condom catheter for my dad.
  19. My mother is 83 years old. I found out the most important things to do is help her keep her dignity and her safety. We made her apartment as safe as possible (bathroom safety thing) and bought her a walker all on line So far she is doing great. She has not fallen yet which is very important
  20. This article made me remember when I was a young and rebellious teen, and my parents use to make me angry and I would say, be careful how you treat me, one day I will be picking your old folks home.
  21. Though the caring can be very stressful for the family, help eliminate some of that stress by letting technology help you. Contact the professionals at Independence Technologies for help. They offer several items, from in home web based monitoring to medication dispensers that can really help with the caregiving load. Check out their website and give them a call, we did.
  22. [...] To make sure Life Solutions offers some helpful advice on independent living. If your eye sight isn’t what it used to be check out Magnifier mouse for people with low vision and Scott Front highlights from personal experience how a simple cane can be so useful. Elder Care ABC also has some useful information on How to deal with aging parents. [...]
  23. Are there legal actions you can take to get a parent to see a doctor?
    • admin
      I'm not sure Harvey. You might see your own family physician and discuss the situation.
  24. Great article!! Our new movie deals with this subject matter. I would suggest readers of this article to check it out if they have a chance. Another Harvest Moon is a sensitive drama about four elderly Americans coping with life in a nursing home. Starring: Ernest Borgnine, Anne Meara, Doris Roberts and Piper Laurie. Or check us out on facebook -
  25. Regarding elder care, denture creams, like Poligrip and Fixodent have been associated with a variety of neurologic health problems and several lawsuits have been filed by people who claim to have been sickened by these products. It is expected that many more will be filed in the coming months. There is some good information on the health and legal implications involved with this issue at:
  26. This is a great article on Easter Seals Adult Day Care in an inter-generational setting. Adult Day Care is the relatively unkown option that more families should consider ebcause it can less costly and less emotionally taxing than traditional routes od care.
  27. i have been caring for my aging mother plus my disabled brother for about 4 years on and off. i am so stressed out with both of them by their stubborness. i have complete caregivers burnout and have made the decision that i have done all i can. they both accuse me of abuse and do what ever they can to get their way which is not take their medicine, continuing to be in and out of the hospital, refusing to let me install safety features in the home. any suggestions. my mother has now turned my daughters against me. they say just move and they will take care of them but they have their on jobs and family.
    • admin
      Dear Carol, I'm no expert, but I would consult with a minister, social worker or maybe a geriatric care manager. At the very least, you can only do the best you can, but you are not obliged to be trampled on in the process. Saying no can be very difficult, but I hope you can turn to a family doctor or friend to discuss the situation. Family dynamics can be challenging enough to face, but add endless hours of caregiving for those who don't want to cooperate may require some outside help to untangle the problems.
  28. I am an only child at 58. My parents are in their 80's. My father has always taken care of my mother, provided for her; she has never had to work. Now, he has been diagnosed with the beginnings of Alzheimer's, and she wants no part of caring for him. She is self-centered, bitter and hateful and wants to put him in a home although, he is still in good shape, except for short term memory loss. I am at my wit's end trying to deal and reason with her. They live in a town that is 50 miles away, so I don't have easy access. Any suggestions?
  29. admin
    Your Message<a class="replyTo" href="#comment-2117" rel="nofollow">@Kathy:</a> If your Mom is as bitter as you say, could she do more harm than good if she did care for your Dad? I would suggest that you seek out a Geriatric Care Manager, social worker or possibly their family doctor who might help get some counseling for the situation so you can assure that your dad is well cared for.
  30. For Kathy; don't expect your mom to change but by getting your father some services coming into the home to help, even if they have to pay for them - your mom will benefit from them too and see some 'benefit' to keep Dad at home, it also gives you peace of mind in knowing someone is keeping an eye on Dad. There are many different ideas of types of help you could have somone provide in the home, not all PCA stuff. You'll also want to keep an assessment of your Dad's functioning. You can get all of that in the book 'A Practical Guide for Identifying and Planning Home and Residential Needs of Senior Adults' at Book has amazing adaptations and accommodations lists to maintain independence and safety in the home, outside, driving, etc. For boomers caring for aging parents, you fall into all kinds of issues from the caring process but also your own life challenges which if not resolved quickly, stress you out, tire you, and leave less energy for caring for your aging parents. Life coaching at specializes in this, for those times when blogs can't be enough. Some good articles on the site too.
  31. one of the best method for handling aging is to keep your mind cool and chill. Dint get tensed on small things.. carry your life as you wish..... You can stay ever young......
  32. [...] Senior Care Information How to Deal With Aging Parents. More here>> [...]

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