Article Discusses Starting “The Talk” with Mom and Dad

Posted: June 16, 2011

How to approach those difficult conversations with older parents concerning decisions around health and living situations.

From the Family Caregiving Alliance’s National Center on Caregiving Newsletter, “Caregiving Policy Digest,” March 16, 2011, Vol. XI, No. 5

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal discussed the difficult conversations for adult children and their parents in making decisions around health and living situations. A daughter profiled in the article explains that her parents were hesitant to move out of their home until she designed a strategic plan that allowed everyone to discuss the pros and cons of the current situation. For example, while the parents’ desire to care for each other was listed as a “pro,” the ten trips that the daughter had to make in 2009 from Dallas to her parent's home in Memphis to assist with health problems was listed as a “con.” After creating the plan and thinking about it for a few weeks, her parents agreed to move to a senior-living community in Memphis. A chairman of a business that provides inhome caregivers suggests using the “40-70” rule: if the children are age 40 or if the parents are age 70, then it’s time to start the discussion. Staff at the National Center on Caregiving at Family Caregiving Alliance speak with family caregivers every day, and encourage creating plans similar to the one described in this article. For example, what are the pros and cons of the current situation, what sort of events might “trigger” a move (e.g., a decline in health, a fall, etc.) and what are financial implications of the current situation and making changes? For more information, visit: