10 Topics About Adult Children Caring for Aging Parents

The article on caring from aging parents is from Hinduism Today magazine.  It’s by a woman who has been caring for her mother for 19 years.

Yesterday, the moderator of the Link2Care email list posted a link to the article.  (Link2Care is an email-based discussion group for California caregivers.)  The moderator describes the author as “very perceptive” in terms of the parent-child relationship.

The author offers practical advice on ten topics, including financial matters, helping one parent (when the other has died), freedom vs. independence, driving, privacy, and acceptance.  Here are short excerpts:

You are still the child: Age seems to make no difference here. Kindness is needed after an adult care-giving child, age 67, has been reminded for the fourth time in 15 minutes to make sure that the front door is locked. Caring parents of any age seem to always take pleasure in making sure that their children are safe and prepared for any eventuality. Perhaps this keeps the mind of an aging parent keen, active and alert. It is wonderful to be so lovingly looked after.

Freedom versus independence: Having an aging parent is like raising a teenager, only in reverse. … Asking the parent questions like “Do you need my help? Can I help you?” might just be answered with, “No.”  It is better to ask, “How are you coming along with that? Be sure and let me know if I can help you.” Changing a few words in any sentence can set a more harmonious and comfortable tone.

Accept your parents as they are: Changing another person is simply impossible (it’s hard enough to change yourself!). If our aging parents annoy, disappoint or frustrate us, the only way that this can ever be turned around is for us, as adult care-giving children, to absorb our reactions within ourselves. Our aging parents are teaching us how to be aging parents. … Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is to treat our parents just as we hope to be treated in the future. 


Here’s a link to the full article:

Living with Aging Parents
Kindness, compromise and tenacity are daily visitors as I look after my 94-year-old mom
Hinduism Today Magazine
by Damara Shanmugan
October/November/December 2013