Sensitive Family Planning with Elderly Parents

It may be a difficult task to broach sensitive subjects involving your elderly parents. They may be extremely private on such subjects as end-of-life decisioning, asset distributions, and designated beneficiaries.

Above all…

  • Respect your parents’ feelings if they make it clear they want to avoid the subject. Try again at a later time.
  • Push the issue if a senior‘s health or safety is at risk, while recognizing your parents’ right to be in charge of their lives.
  • Act firmly, but with compassion. For example, “Dad, we need to deal with this now.”
  • Hold a family meeting where everyone discusses concerns and together develops a mutually agreeable plan – giving your aging parents a sense of involvement and control over their lives.
  • Consider the involvement of other people respected by your parents. This may include a member of the clergy, an attorney, or a close family friend.
  • Look for community resources that can help a parent remain independent, including home care, meal delivery or transportation.

Most elders prefer to remain in their current home – and today there are options that bridge the spectrum from living independently to being in a long-term care facility. Many elderly, even those with early-stage Alzheimer’s, manage to live within the comfort and familiarity of their homes because of the various community services that now exist. Many, for example, prefer live-in care services, with a trusted caregiver, over being moved to a nursing home. Senior-only independent housing, Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living all offer housing options.

Physicians and geriatric social workers warn that there are a number of danger signs that indicate that an elderly person needs extra help or an immediate change in their living arrangement. As a result, note any marked change in personality or behavior. However, no major lifestyle changes should be made without discussions with your elderly parents, other family members, and health professionals.

Once the ice is broken, it will become easier for elderly parents and adult family members to hold meaningful discussions.

JD Miller

About JD Miller

John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. Phone: (781) 378-2164 Email: Website:

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