aging parents with young grandkids

Do’s and Don’ts When Caring for Your Aging Parents

Knowing how to help your aging parents can sometimes feel like a minefield. They shouldn’t suffer needlessly, but they crave independence.

If your elderly parents cannot take care of themselves or their house, it might be time for you to step in.

For nearly three decades, I have watched families struggle with this very thing. I want to share what I’ve learned and maybe help you too!


  1. Start The Conversation.

Start by expressing your concerns and give real examples. Sensitive talks like this need to be done with empathy and clarity. Consider inviting a professional to help you. Aging parents may be more receptive to an outside, objective party.

  1. Have Empathy.

It can be difficult for our aging parents to change roles from caregiver to care-receiver. Put yourself in their shoes. Remember, it’s difficult for anyone to give up their independence. Looking at the situation from your parents’ perspective can help you find creative and sensitive ways to guide them through this transition.

  1. Be Informed.

To take care of your aging parents, you need to understand their situation and expressed wishes. You should know their:

    • Primary Doctor (and specialists)
    • Medications and Supplements
    • Allergies

Next, find out where their medical and estate management documents are. This includes:

    • Medicare Card
    • Insurance Information
    • Durable Power of Attorney (POA)
    • Will, Living Will, Trusts, or other documents


  1. Have A Single Conversation.

Be prepared to continue the dialogue with your aging parents. You might have to remind them why you are helping or make adjustments to your initial plan. That said, don’t force them to see things the way you do. Have open conversations and stay open-minded.

  1. Carry This Burden Alone.

Invite siblings or relatives into the discussions. Typically, one person takes a lead role, but other family members can help support and relieve tension. This is especially helpful in the early stages as you figure out a plan going forward.

  1. Wait Until Tomorrow.

Start learning and gathering information to prepare for future crises that might arise. When you have a good handle on their situation, monitor symptoms like changes in weight, failure to take medication, new health issues, and lack of social activity. The sooner you get started, the more prepared you will be.


This new chapter in your aging parent’s life can stir up family tensions. Pursuing open communication with empathy can help your parents adjust to this phase in life.

Let us help you to benefit from our experience with walking people through the issues of caring for aging parents.


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