The best way to help your elder parent is to talk openly and honestly. Procrastinating on important subjects or putting off conversations is only making it more difficult for all concerned. I find talking to elderly clients, that they feel afraid to disappoint or scare their children. In turn, adult children feel the same way. They don’t want to upset or have their elder parent mad at them. The best approach is direct. Make a list of subjects and have a copy for both of you and even offer it in advance of the discussion so that everyone is prepared. This approach leaves no surprises.

Important situations regarding health and finances need to be addressed. Here you are the head of your own family, a manager or even the owner of a business yet you fear talking directly to your elder parents. They need your help when decisions have to be made. Health issues are important to know about. The information is not just for them but also for your future and that of your young family.

What are their health issues? What medicines do they take? Are they using anything that would impair their driving skills? If so, what means of transportation is available for them when they are no longer capable of driving? How will you approach selling or giving their car away? Who will be available to help out with important appointments or do they need a “Lift Line” pass or “Medi Cab”?

Does their medication cause confusion? Do they need guidance with keeping track of appointments and amounts of meds taken per day? Does the confusion hinder their ability to handle finances or keep schedules straight? Does someone need to accompany them to medical appointments?

If your elder parent knows you’re sincere it makes it much easier to be honest. None of us wants to admit we’re getting older and not as capable as we used to be. It’s tough to face the truth about our own health and asking our parents to face the health changes they’re experiencing is reality biting hard. Putting off conversations until you get that late night phone call is no longer acceptable. The longer you wait to discuss family health issues the harder it will be. If you wait too long to have an adult relationship with your parents, you’re going to face some resistance . Losing their independence is difficult. Try to remember when you were a teen trying to gain your independence! Your parents had a hard time giving in to you and now they have to give independence up to you. Stay patient as some day you will be treading the same path as they are now.

Have patience with yourself as well as with your aging parents. Many of you are still raising teenagers and are expected to help out with your elder parents. Be honest about what your capabilities are. If you cannot stretch yourself that thin, bypass the guilt and admit it openly. Compromise by helping to find other ways, people or organizations to accommodate the situations. There are wonderful senior or elder sources to match whatever status you are at.

Just remember that everything your parent needs is not your total responsibility. They do need and appreciate your input, help and understanding but bypass the stress of control. Keep reminding yourself that you are helping an individual that you love and loves you. Don’t take over their lives…share their lives. Communication and information are extremely important for all concerned. Enjoy your personal time and family time together.

Author's Bio: 

Marge Pickering-Picone is a Complementary Nutrition Consultant for Professional Nutrition Services of Rochester, Inc. and the Founder of which is a website for the Baby Boomer to find reliable and helpful information for facing the changes that are fast approaching.