How to Talk to Your Parents About Aging

As a busy mom, your focus is often on your children and their well-being. For years, this works fine, but we also reach a point where we have to look at the people who raised us and possibly start caring for them as well. Maybe your dad can’t safely drive the way he used to, or perhaps your mom is showing signs of dementia or struggling with her mobility.  

Even if your parents are still working, you’re likely thinking about what the future will hold as they get older and their needs shift. It’s not easy telling your parents that they need someone to take care of them. It’s even common for women to take on the role of caregiver without saying a word, but this can lead to severe burnout and doesn’t really benefit anyone in the end. Before big talks come into play, here are some suggestions on approaching conversations about aging with your parents. 

Ask About Their Health 

What are their physical conditions, if any? Do you know what medications your parents require? It can be hard hearing about their medical problems because we want to think of our parents as immortal and invincible. But as they age, everyone’s health changes. Someone can be perfectly healthy for their age but still have chronic conditions. You should also think about what this could mean down the line if their health declines. Would you be able to look after them, hire a caretaker or would they need to move into assisted living? 

Talk About Retirement 

Life doesn’t stop in your 60s and 70s, and for many people, retirement is actually one of the greatest periods of their lives. They get to invest themselves, their hobbies and their families more than ever. As many baby boomers are reaching retirement age, they’re considering how their finances will look in the next few years. As they shift out of the workplace and into their golden years, considering long-term care insurance can be a good idea. It can bring added peace of mind to everyone. 

Respect Their Independence 

You might feel like you need to swoop in and take control over your parents’ health, especially if it’s recently taken a downturn. But they are competent adults who have successfully made it this far in life. Even if they need some extra help and care, they should be treated as your equal, not your patient. People often need time to come around to the fact they’re getting older, even if they’re still active and living well. The changes that mind and body undergo can be scary and confusing, so your parents need to feel like they’re still in control of themselves. Express your love to your parents before your concern; let them know that you’re always acting from a place of care. In many cases, it’s best to start off by giving assistance rather than trying to steer the reins. After all, it’s still their well-being, so they should be given a choice as long as they’re able to safely do so. 

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