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Your Aging Parents: About the Website

This website was born out of our desire to continue to share our years of professional and personal experience with families as they experience aging of the generations. To do this, we are sharing selected excerpts from the second edition of our book.

Your Aging Parents
How to Prepare
How to Cope

When Judy and I wrote the first edition of Your Aging Parents,  we believed that information is empowering.  With facts about aging, and suggestions for action, both generations could seek shared solutions for housing, health, and relationships. We emphasized the importance of both generations working with and understanding the other.  We did not espouse the belief that adult children begin to “parent their parents.”  We wanted to focus on the interdependence within the family, with respect and dignity for all.

For the second edition, we invited our colleague, Dianne McDermid to join us and she brought a strong emphasis on health promotion, at all ages and stages of life. 

The result was a Canadian guide for busy adults with competing demands of families, careers, and concerns about aging parents, and we are pleased to share selected excerpts of our book on our website.  

How to use the website

You can read the articles in any order, depending on your interest and specific needs. We hope that you will share them on social media or download and save the pdf to print or to share with others.

We designed the activities to encourage reflection and to promote conversation with your family. Our readers told us that they liked these unique activities, which helped them to focus on essential content and think about actions that they could take to address their particular situation.

Who should read the articles?

Primarily, we are sharing the articles for the generation that is providing care and support to seniors. This may include an aging “boomer” who is 70 caring for a parent who is 90. But it also includes those born between 1965-1980, supporting a parent who is now aged early 70’s.

Finally, as the title suggests, we wrote our book to support those caregivers with practical information. But the book could also have a subtitle “You’re Aging Parents.” It could also apply to those who want to learn more about self-care to minimize the responsibility they might place on the younger generations, their “adult” children and grandchildren. And some activities are equally useful for a senior, as for the younger generation.

Overview of Content

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Part One: Understand Aging

Ageism affects us all, but can have more negative effects on a senior. This is so because stereotyping may lead us to thinking that some symptoms are inevitable with aging. Knowing more helps you and your parents to adapt to common changes, and seek effective treatment when needed.

Ageism. Check Your Attitude

Your Roadmap to Healthy Aging

Everyday Realities of Aging: How Seniors Adapt

Part Two: Build Relationships

You and your parents can strengthen your relationship by learning about differing values and expectations between the generations. Having this understanding can help when your parents require increased healthcare and support.

You can read about the various professionals that make up the healthcare team and how you can effectively interact with them.

Family Dynamics

  • Because communication is so important, we added an article that we wrote for another publication.

Caught in the Middle: Caring for Others and Yourself

Caught in the Middle: Caring for Others and Yourself raises crucial issues about the role of family members in providing help to parents. Most important, your will learn ideas to help you to know that you are doing ‘the right thing’ and ‘doing things right’ even from a distance.

  • You have noticed some changes in your aging parents’ behaviour and you wonder: “Do my parents need help?  Because changes in health might be slow and gradual, it can be difficult to determine when help is needed.  This article provides some signals to watch for and tips about ways to help.
  • Long Distance Caregiving provides helpful advice for those who ask: “What can we do when our parents live so far away? We acknowledge the contributions of Helen Buie and Val Carter for sharing their experiences and insights.
  • A CARER (also referred to as caregiver or family caregiver) is a person who takes on an unpaid caring role for someone who needs help because of a physical or cognitive condition, an injury or a chronic life-limiting illness. In 2018, 25% of Canadians (7.8 million) provided care to a family member or friend with a long-term physical or mental disability. These caregivers need support. We have compiled a list of national caregiver support associations and information/support from the provinces/territories.

Just-in-time Planning Guide. This planning guide provides an outline of basic information that will help you stay organized while supporting your parents through the many steps of managing chronic or acute health problems. You can complete one guide for each parent and another guide for yourself!
Just-in-time planning guide

Finding the Services: Who are you going to call?
Have you faced the challenge of finding a service – for yourself – or for older parents? You’ve heard that many services available – but who are you going to call? And when feeling stressed by acute crisis or chronic health problems, it can be overwhelming to find the right health or social service. We compiled a list of information services for seniors in Canada.
Seniors Information Services

The Healthcare Team: Who are they? How can we interact?

Personal Stories

Guest authors share their perspective on timely topics.

Guest author, Patricia Ferguson Meek, offers her personal observations about loneliness and social isolation for seniors living in long-term care and in the community. She poses the question how the younger generation can develop life-long interests that might help ease loneliness in  their later years.
Loneliness Lives Here

As a companion article to the discussion of loneliness by Patricia Ferguson Meek, Maureen Osis draws upon suggestions from Wendy Duggleby, former research chair in aging and quality of life, University of Alberta. Maureen presents many ideas that can be used to stay connected with seniors — during the pandemic and at any time.
Loneliness During COVID-19. A Dilemma for Seniors.

One way to stay connected with seniors is through written letters. Yes, old fashioned but very personal correspondence. A good activity for grandchildren to learn. Writing Letters

In response to requests from readers (and friends), Maureen Osis wrote an article about the risks of social interaction for seniors during COVID-19.
Mom. Dad. Stay home. COVID Kills

Read a personal story; Maureen Osis shares her introduction to the field of gerontological nursing.
What Minnie Taught Me

This article was written several years ago for Alberta Views magazine. The topic provoked lots of feedback. The Myth of Independence presents a different look at the very old senior – living at home as long as possible!

Part Three: Plan Ahead

Bookmark the website and return. These articles are coming shortly.

Whether your concerns relate to the health, housing, or finances, planning ahead can prevent a crisis. This section provides important information about personal health care directives and enduring power of attorney. You can explore whether your parents are best to stay at home, move closer, live with you, or seek seniors’ housing. Checklists will help your family make shared decisions.

Navigate the Maze: How to find the services
  • Navigate the maze: How to find the services discusses the differences between public and private services. You will also read useful tips to encourage your parents to use the services.
    • What types of services are needed?
    • Where can we find these services?
    • Is the information on the internet trustworthy?
    • How to evaluate private health care and service providers.
Taking Care of Business: Financial and legal matters
  • Taking care of Business: Financial and legal matters provides information about matters such as competency, guardianship, power of attorney and healthcare directives. You will find a list of provincial resources regarding senior benefit programs so you and your parents can be informed about financial assistance to help with some of the “costs of aging.”
    • Legal documents everyone should write
    • Personal “costs of aging.”
    • Seniors Benefit Programs

The Meaning of Home

  • The Meaning of Home discusses the deeply personal issues surrounding housing. You will read about the importance of “moving by choice” rather than “moving by necessity.” Learn more about factors that make a ‘livable’ community and the initiative “age-friendly communities.”
    • Helping parents remain at home
    • Housing options
  • Checklists will help you gather information before having a conversation.
    • Staying at home
    • Moving in together
    • Evaluating Assisted Living Residences
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