Families with Aging Parents

Are you navigating new territory with your aging parents? Concerned about changes in their health and well-being? Nervous about their living arrangements? Finding it difficult to know how to start a conversation about these sensitive subjects?

You want to help your parents, but you're not sure what the right thing is to do… and how to do it! You want a respectful dialogue between family members, and you want your parents to be involved in decisions that affect your whole family's future.

With this in mind, ElderWise Publishing has just released:

Your Aging Parents: Arriving At Shared Solutions for Housing, Health and Relationships

Your life is busy and filled with multiple roles. Adding the role of helping aging parents can make you feel overwhelmed. If you're not familiar with the issues and options, it can create confusion and uncertainty. The added sense of obligation and responsibility can create emotional upheavals for the whole family.

For most of us, facing the challenge of helping aging parents is definitely new territory - and it's not for the faint of heart! It means seeking out support, thinking about things differently, and learning new skills.

"Your Aging Parents" is a comprehensive guide for this new territory, pointing you and your family towards the knowledge, resources and confidence you need to survive - and even thrive - with this new challenge.

"Your Aging Parents: Arriving at Shared Solutions for Housing, Health and Relationships" is available for order online from Trafford Publishing:

Here are just a few of the things you will learn in this book:

  • Common myths of aging - and how buying into them hurts us all. (Ch.1)
  • What to do if you are worried about changes in vision and hearing, balance and mobility
  • Tips on approaching the issue of driving, and six warning signs that you are dealing with an unsafe driver!
  • The six things you should know about your parents' medications (p.33) with ten important tips on safe use of medications.
  • How to bridge communication gaps between the generations. How to reduce tension with a list of conversation-starters…and 6 conversation-openers to avoid at all costs! (pp. 47,49-50, 60)
  • Why you don't become your "parents' parent"… and why the experts advise against it! (p.53 )
  • Four essential rules for self-care if your parents are emotionally abusive, suffering from alcoholism, mental health disorders, or just "being difficult" (p.64)
  • Six ways to be your parents' advocates with health care professionals (p.73)
  • How to assess reliability of medical information on the Internet (p. 91)
  • Five things to consider before you invite your parents to move in with you (p.115)
  • Ten signs and symptoms of depression - a common mental health concern for seniors (p.145)
  • Seven warning signs of dementia - and how they differ from normal behaviour (p.151)

'Your Aging Parents' is comprehensive, easy to read, and holds a lot of very practical information.  Too often, I see families with aging parents dealing with strained relations and crisis situations. I wish every family would read this book - BEFORE the crisis!" 
Peter Meiring, M.D., Geriatric Physician

To learn more about the authors and to read an excerpt of Chapter 1, go to

"Your Aging Parents" also includes in-depth sections on:

  • Understanding medical jargon, managing relationships with your parents' health care providers, and navigating the health care system
  • Finding the services your family needs (locally or at a distance), and influencing your parents to accept help. Includes a checklist for evaluating private health care agencies.
  • How to talk about sensitive issues like finances, guardianship, power of attorney, and health care directives.
  • How families can decide together on living arrangements that work best for all concerned. Includes checklists for staying at home and for evaluating an "assisted living" facility.
  • Understanding and living with chronic illnesses - high blood pressure, heart or lung disease, arthritis and other common ailments - and how to manage chronic pain or disability.
  • Facing the challenges of mental illness - including depression, anxiety, addictions and dementia.

Each chapter in "Your Aging Parents" includes simple action steps you can take, as well as a wealth of Canadian resources you can consult, both in the community and on-line.

"This is a "must read" for Baby Boomers who are assisting their parents in our aging society.  It's comprehensive yet user-friendly, with helpful checklists and recommended resources that cover all physical and emotional aspects of aging. You'll want to keep this reference book handy!"

Myrna Meyer-Field, elementary school teacher and daughter of an aging parent"

"Your Aging Parents: Arriving at Shared Solutions for Housing, Health and Relationships" is available online from Trafford Publishing:

"Your Aging Parents" covers the practical - and also the poignant - issues faced by families with aging parents. Under the immediate issues of changes in health and questions about housing are delicate social and interpersonal issues which must be handled with care. Read these excerpts for a preview of the book's contents:

Harmful Facts of Ageism
"An ageist view of older people focuses on negative images. It assumes that they have less to live for, experience less joy, and are incapable of or have no desire to learn new skills." (p.11)

How Do We Handle Family Conflict?
"Sudden changes in health, hospitalization, or a move into a long-term care centre for one of your parents can precipitate a family crisis. Crisis situations are turning points. Families either negotiate the challenges and move on or fail to negotiate with resulting distress. The crisis is caused not solely by the problem, but also by the inability of the family to cope effectively using their usual problem-solving methods." (p.59)

Finding Services - Locally or at a Distance
"…Dad is showing signs of memory loss, but you don't know where to go for assessment.  Or you wish that Mom would to go to a doctor who knows more about aging.  You might be looking for in-home services and feel confused when you try to find them. You think that Mom would be much safer if she used a cane or a walker - but where do you buy it, and how can you be sure that it is right for her? How will you accomplish all this if you live at a distance?" (p.79)

Coping with Change
"Aging means change and transition. Change is what happens around you; transition is the journey that you take to manage the change. But not everyone in the family manages change and transition in the same way. How do you react to change?  How will your style of coping with change influence the way that you plan for the future? How will it affect other members of your family?" (p. 94)

Leaving the Family Home
"...with aging, some individuals prefer to move from their home, and others find it necessary to do so.  Having a conversation with your parents about whether to "stay put" or "move on" can make a difference between moving by choice and moving out of necessity." (p. 105)

Risks of Hospitalization
"The main function of acute care hospitals is to diagnose and treat acute illness or injury. But most conditions of elderly people are chronic and progressive, and their admissions to hospital are for "acute episodes of a chronic condition." While hospitalization may be necessary, there are potential risks including delirium, falls, bedsores, dehydration, constipation, de-conditioning, and loss of functional independence."

"With the complex, often confusing healthcare system in Canada, this book fills an urgent need. I know because I spent years as a private sector manager just trying to figure out the system!  The book is authoritative, well researched, and well written. Here are two authors who obviously care about their audience - and about the people the audience cares for."

Brian Ward, Edmonton, Alberta 

Your Aging Parents" is for you if:

  • You want to ensure your parents are involved in decision-making about their health, housing and other critical matters
  • You are concerned about maintaining positive, respectful relationships during potentially stressful situations
  • You want information and resources that are relevant to Canadians.
  • You want to be pro-active, sensitive and prepared.

To purchase "Your Aging Parents: Arriving at Shared Solutions to Housing, Health and Relationships" for you or a family you care about, go to

ElderWise is committed to providing the most useful and up-to-date information and resources for mid-life Canadians who are striving to help their aging parents.  Our website, bi-monthly newsletter, family and individual coaching sessions, and printed material are all designed to meet your need for concise, accurate, and practical tips and strategies for you and your family.


Maureen Osis and Mara Osis
P.S. "Your Aging Parents" is our most comprehensive, practical - and specifically Canadian - resource for anyone "navigating the new territory". To purchase this book now, go to

Funding Sources

CIHR Institute of Aging: Funding Research from Cell to Society, from Promise to Practice


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