How to Understand and Help Your Aging Parents

How can you best take care of your aging parents? What do they really need and how should you talk to them? This blog will help provide tips and answers.

How can you best take care of your aging parents? What do they really need and how should you talk to them? This blog will help provide tips and answers.


Simon said to his dying father, “I promise to take care of mom and make sure she can continue to live at home for the rest of her life.”

But since his father’s death, his mom’s Alzheimer’s has worsened and Simon feels stuck. When the caregiver he arranged for arrived, his mother chased her away with a plastic spatula. She continues to refuse elderly care. Simon’s relationship with his mother is suffering, and he is drained from taking care of an aging parent.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. In 2016, 34.2 million Americans provided care to aging parents.

It isn’t easy.


Taking Care of Aging Parents Can Feel Like a Roller Coaster Ride

Of course, we all want the best for our parents and loved ones. We want to help them feel comfortable, to respond rationally and compassionately to their needs. But often, these needs are perplexing and in constant flux. Aging is a process. Taking care of aging parents comes with highs and lows, bringing a full range of emotions for all those involved.

Yet, you wonder: what can you do? How can you talk to your aging parent, friend or relative without upsetting him or jeopardizing your relationship? Should you make decisions for him regardless of his preferences, or let him make important choices about where and how to live?

The good news is that nobody expects you to have the answers. Understanding, supporting and caring for the members of our aging population — now the largest generation in America – takes a village. Or a team.

Tips and Insights to Help Take Care of Aging Parents

At LivHOME, my team and I helped Simon learn new ways to engage with his mother, leading to more productive and positive outcomes. With our support, he was able to decipher what his mother wanted and what was getting in the way of her accepting help. Together we worked out a solution so that he could connect with his mother in a way that reduced the level of conflict and aggravation. The result: his mom got the care she needed, and together they were able to interact in a much less contentious manner.

On this blog, I’ll share the valuable lessons I’ve learned during 30-plus years of experience caring for my own aging parents and managing professional care services for seniors. Through it, I’ll bring you the answers and insights you need into what, exactly, your aging parent, friend or relative is experiencing and how you can react. I’ll help you understand topics such as:

  • Role changes. How to care for and ensure your aging parents’ safety.
  • How to speak openly with your aging parents.
  • What’s preventing your aging parents from taking action?
  • Warning signs that your aging parent needs help – and what you can do about it.
  • Recognizing the signs of cognitive impairment – and how to react.
  • How to handle sibling rivalry in relationships with aging parents.
  • Assembling your team: how to access the right professionals and resources.

Feel free to join the conversation, through comments, social media or subscribe to my newsletter.

We’re here to help.

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Steven Barlam

Author Steven Barlam

Steven Barlam, MSW, LCSW, CMC is the Chief Professional Officer and Co-Founder of LivHOME. Since 1985, Steve has worked exclusively in the field of geriatrics, working directly with clients and their families, and developing innovative service delivery models. He has served as President of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers. Steve is a regular lecturer at local universities and national conferences on topics relating to care management, technology, and patient/client care.

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