As our parents age, we begin to question how we can make their aging years the best they can be. We may ask ourselves, are they physically and mentally capable of living alone? Do they need to move to a residence that requires less maintenance? What’s their financial situation?

As you evaluate your parents’ needs, use the following approaches:

  • Pay attention. Visit frequently and pay attention to details that might indicate they need help. An empty refrigerator or a stack of unpaid bills may be clues that they need additional assistance.
  • Keep lines of communication open. Not only should you communicate with your parents, but talk to your siblings as well. It’s helpful to schedule an appointed time to check in and see how everyone is coping.
  • Be prepared. The worst time to make major decisions is a time of crisis, so plan ahead. Know your parents wishes, know where to locate important documents, familiarize yourself with care facilities and elder care services, and know about your parents’ finances.

Source:, 10-16-06