Taking care of elderly parents can be a challenging, emotional and complicated task. We discuss ways to handle the practical and emotional issues around caring for your parents as they age.

Stefania Shaffer, author of "9 Realities of Caring for an Elderly Parent: A Love Story of a Different Kind"
Donna Schempp, director of programs and services emeritus at the Family Caregiver Alliance
Anne Hinton, executive director, San Francisco Department of Aging and Adult Services

  • SJ

    My mother lives with my husband and I now that she’s retired.
    I think the hardest part for me are her emotional breakdowns and mood swings since she now feels that she’s not in “control” of anything.
    How do you deal with this? Also, I deal with them since she’s my mother, but how do I help my husband deal with them?

  • Maureen Kravitz

    Four words…Long Term Care Insurance! An absolute life-saver, and a gift for all involved.

    • Jaki Jepson

      This is so true for my husband and me as well. Thanks for passing this on.

    • Olive

      But be sure you get it before you come down with any disqualifying diseases. Also, many policies are not as comprehensive as they make themselves out to be.

  • Charlie Hasselbach

    This program reaches deep into my heart. I took care of my mother for 2 years – and it was a shock. When I reached her home in NC for a ten day visit, I discovered someone I did not know. My Mother was no longer there and that was the first shock. We did share good times, I moved her to California and spent hours and days with her laughing with her, watching baseball, going to chemo sessions, PET scans, etc…the worst part of all was the total disregard and unkindness of my only sister and her adult daughters who did nothing to help but did all they could to injure me. It has been 5 years (yesterday) since my Mom died and I am still reeling from it. I miss my Mom but also my only sibling basically told me to drop dead! All I ever wanted was a simple Thank You…I loved my Mom; we were not always close but she was MY MOTHER and I would be with her to the end of her life.

    • marte48

      Thanks for sharing this! Ditto!

  • Hema Kundargi

    An excellent software for the whole family to help each other take care of elderly

  • lalameda

    I am 65 and do not have children. My nieces are not geographically close and I don’t want to suddenly or gradually become a burden on them. What should I be doing now to plan ahead for the time when I cannot care for myself and make sure my last days are not prolonged or handled in a crisis management way? How specific can one be in their legal documents?

    • Jaki Jepson

      Check out the Village Movement, a national organization that offers all kinds of assistance to people who want to remain in our. Own homes as we age. Google “Villages”, or call 510/547-8500.

      • lalameda

        Thanks for the info. I don’t necessarily want to remain in my own home if I can’t take care of it or myself. My main concern is to NOT be a burden on family, neighbors or the government. I want to use my assets to purchase care for appropriate circumstances and be allowed to die with dignity.

  • eyasta

    I have a real interest in developing support for seniors and pet companions. Pets often become like children or best friends to seniors and yet, because of hard realities, caring for them or keeping them and their seniors together can be problematic. (ex. If Mom/Dad downsizes and pets aren’t allowed, a senior has to face suddenly losing their best friend with a week deadline.)

    As we recognize the importance of animal companionship, how does this relate to the role of caretakers? I’m sure it adds yet one more responsibility on them. Yet it’s such an important component to a person’s life.

    Thank you!

    San Jose

  • Karin Snowberg

    UCSF is testing a positive emotion-based stress reduction program for family caregivers of folks with dementia: http://memory.ucsf.edu/research/clinical-trials/leaf. Program is free and delivered by videoconferencing on study-supplied tablet computer, so caregivers can participate from where they are…Please spread the word to caregivers we might be able to help! Email LEAF@ucsf.edu or call (415) 514-2935 for more info.

  • marte48

    My mother had six kids after me, which turned me into the “second mom.” So when she needed a caregiver, I was the one to step up. She had taken me in when I lost my home due to “downsizing” and I was happy to care for her when her health declined.

  • disqus_ueeOij3zra

    I would say that in my family the number of Gen X future care givers is probably 2 Gen X/ 6
    seniors (parents, aunts & uncles) 72yrs +. My cousin and I haven’t talked,
    but when I look at the future I’m not sure where to begin. What are your
    recommendations to help the aunts and uncles who did not have children?

    • Lance

      This I agree is going to be the biggest issue. When the retirement group outnumbers the work force nationally we’re in for a sour pickle.

  • Robert Thomas

    A simple thing of which many people are unaware are the differences between

    Independent living community
    Assisted living facility
    Skilled care facility

  • Alec Proudfoot

    Good facility comparison site (I’m surprised it was not mentioned)


  • Julia

    Tips for dealing with an aging parent that thinks people are taking things from her?

  • Paula

    As a resource for money, for Vets or Surviving Spouses of Veterans, the VA has several programs, e.g. Aid and Attendance. This is specifically assists with in-home care or institutions.

  • Teri Harrigan

    My mom and I each filled out a Five Wishes pamphlet while she was still healthy. This started the dialogue about what kind of end of life care she wanted, up to what she wanted done with her body after she passed away, It made the job of caring for her according to her wishes “easy” since I didn’t have to second guess her wishes.

  • Anna Silva

    Excellent Show. Your guest is discussing taking care of parent whom she truly loved, but what if you are the family member in contact with a parent whom wasn’t the best parent growing up. I tried to help, but the stress was just too much. I know he’s going to get worse and I don’t know what my options are. Thank you!

  • Jaki Jepson

    The Village Movement is a hugely valuable resource for aging people who want to stay in our homes. Look up Village on Google. NorthOakland Village is at 510/547-8500.

  • Michael in Berkeley

    My Dad is 83, and as he is aging, taking care of so many of the things mentioned in this show takes patience on my part. I need to constantly be careful and considerate, as my dad is still of sound mind, to be sensitive to his speed and comfort level to talk and deal with these things. I want to check them off, lovingly, as a list of things that we “need” to do, but my Dad is functioning at a much slower processing speed, so I need to pace it and be o.k. with that pace.

  • Cyndy Goldman

    Thanks for the show! I am a 60 yr. old Caregiver (only child) with 2 parents (88 and 90). It’s been rough with my Father (90) in 3x wk. Dialysis. In March of this year, after both parents fell together, I had both in the ER with me and my 21 yr. old daughter. Stairs to their condo prohibited Dad from returning home so he has been living with me and my daughter the past 5 months. I had to quit my job and now give 24/7 care (thankful that I got the aid & attendance VA benefits). Mom is difficult, staying in their condo with some 1x week neighbor bringing groceries, garbage out, mail in. She is a high risk “self-neglectful” woman and has her faculties intact, healed from her fractured pelvis and refuses to have us visit (bringing Dad – too much stress) or visiting us here (too much stress). I feel guilty, but realize that she needs her time to rest and have a life of her own right now. We have a medi-alert necklace for her and a few cousins that can visit her almost 1x a week to take her out for lunch and to the hairdressers. I am truly tired every day and try to get a massage 1x every 2 weeks. looking for a new therapist and trusting my 21-yr old daughter more (high functioning aspergers)… social workers were too many all at once and useless to me. I did most of the coordinating myself in changing Drs. and transfering Dad to the Dialysis Center near me. It is a high bar and the part of the talk that struck me deeply is, “the anxiety, the no timeline about death, caring for them with much love and yet the idea of death knocking so close or when?”… (paraphrasig). Self-care is the hardest part when you only have little windows of time. thank goodness for my meds for anxiety and sleep and depression… have gained 20 lbs… health is a risk factor for us caregivers. Have yet to get the 4 — documents in place… my Mother fought me but now I think I can get it going again. Thanks!

  • Denise

    For families in Alameda County, there are extensive resources and support provided by a network of non-profit organizations at: http://www.daybreakcenters.org

  • OLLI-SFState

    It’s important to care for the carer too!

  • DailyCaring

    We provide a free and valuable daily email newsletter for families caring for older adults. We have a wide range of topics that help both new and experienced caregivers. Check us out at dailycaring.com!

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