Dealing with Aging Parents


During the last century the number of Americans living beyond age 65 has doubled. This astounding increase in seniors is starting to put a strain on some baby-boomers. Today more than ever middle aged Americans are facing the task of caring for elderly parents. The baby-boomers will be the first generation to care for their parents more years than they spent caring for their children. As the realization of this becomes apparent it can bring very uneasy feelings.

Many of us never imagine the possibility that caring for our parents may one day become a reality. Likewise many of us are completely unprepared for such a task. Most middle aged Americans are already dealing with the financial issues of planning for retirement. The strain of also planning to care for a parent that has failing health can certainly compound the problem of planning for your future. This is why it is vitally important to at least look at the possibility now. A little planning now could save a disaster later.

It is a natural reaction to avoid this issue until we have a parent that is in need of care. We must keep in mind that having a discussion with our parents now is neccessary to avoid complicated decisions later. Some issues that are important to talk about now are finances, healthcare coverage, living arrangements, and legal considerations. For most people discussing these subjects is awkward and intimidating.

Below you will find a few things to keep in mind as you have this conversation, hopefully they will help ease the process.

1. Choose a time everyone involved can be calm and not interrupted by distractions.

2. Remember we are all human do not be judgemental about decisions that your parents may have made in the past. Hind sight is 20-20, put in the same situation you may have made the same decision at the time.

3. Phrase your interests as questions, give them a chance to express their ideas. Try not to suggest your ideas as the only choice. This conversation should go both ways.

4. Attempt to alleviate your parents concerns. ( This could go a long toward them cooperating with you)

5. Offer alternatives to ideas you do not agree with, you should not argue ideas.

6. If possible try to break the conversation down to several smaller conversations, often a little time to reflect may bring both of you closer to agreement on the issues.

--By Tim Grimsley

T. Grimsley is a staff writer for Wongaa provides information on many issues facing Americans today. For more information visit us at: Wongaa

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