With spring, you may find yourself surrounded by invitations to family events for graduations and weddings.

As you plan to attend these family events, pay attention to your aging parents.

They may need your help.

You may see your parents as strong and independent.

But as they age, they may not be as independent as they once were when you were younger.

Shifting your view of your parents can be difficult.

Unfortunately, many aging parents don’t share with their adult children concerns about their health.

Even if you visit regularly, they may hide what’s really going on with their health.

And if one parent is a caregiver, they may be overwhelmed with responsibilities. And preparing for a big family event may be too stressful for them to manage.

Don’t wait for a crisis to help your parents.

Take the first step and be proactive. Offer your help.

If your parents tend to say, “Everything is fine,” then be specific with what you are offering to do.

Offer to take them shopping for the event, provide transportation, book travel accommodations, or even buy a group gift.

You may have to ask several times before your parents accept your help.

Be persistent, patient, and, more importantly, be mindful of your words. No one likes to admit they are losing independence.

Instead of taking over the task, assist your parents.

This strategy will take more time, but it will make your parents feel better about themselves.

With your parents still taking the lead, they will retain their dignity.

Sometimes, your parents may not acknowledge their limitations, especially when traveling. During those times, be gentle with your suggestions to help persuade them.

For example, your parents may not think they need wheelchair assistance in a busy airport, but it would definitely be easier for them during the journey.

With spring, we begin celebrating family milestone events such as graduations and weddings.

During this busy and festive time, it’s easy to become absorbed with what you need to accomplish before the big event.

But if you have aging parents, you may need to shift your focus to help them.

You may not accomplish everything you thought you would before the big event, but you will help make it easier for your parents to enjoy the family festivities.

(Update to original post from April 23, 2018)


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA®, RICP®, is a Managing Director at Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing  comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, and retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”