As aging adults continue to get older, it can become difficult for them to maintain a healthy grasp on the things that impact them the most. This can include their living conditions, finances, and legal matters. Over time, this lack of attention can extend to their medications and medical affairs, as well as anything else that helps support their well-being and quality of life.

As an adult child of aging parents what can you do? What do you need to be aware of? How do you plan forward for a time when you may need to step in to help your parent?

We often see that when elder parents can no longer protect themselves, their adult children become their voice. They become their advocates. Let us share five key tips to effectively stepping into this role.

1. Paying Attention. Effectively speaking up for an aging parent and securing what he or she needs begins with noticing a diminished ability. This can be gradual, where small initial changes lead to bigger problems, or all at once due to an injury or illness.

If your aging parent is receiving any form of care services, you may need to pay closer attention to nonverbal cues. In these instances, your parent may not be able to provide feedback as descriptively as you need to make decisions. Do not wait to get involved and get the information you need. When making decisions for a loved one you need to know what exactly is going on in order to effectively advocate for solutions.

2. Organization. Organization is also key. As an effective advocate, you may need to manage healthcare, financial, legal, and caregiving records. Information should be easily accessible, and when possible, digitized. Knowing the facts and having documentation to back them up is critical for effective advocacy.

3. Confidence. Another important quality for the advocate is confidence. You need to be able to speak up about important matters for your aging parent. When it comes to doctors, lawyers, financial professionals, insurance companies, and others your parent needs assistance from, be clear about what you need. Direct communication and assertiveness may help you best secure what your elderly parent needs.

4. Ask Questions. If at any point you don’t understand what’s going on regarding your aging parent, ask questions. Don’t settle for answers that make you uncomfortable or uneasy. Gathering information and making good decisions is the core job of an effective advocate. Ask questions, take notes, don’t assume anything, and decide for yourself.

5. Persistence. Finally, never give up. While seeking the best results for your parent, you’re bound to hit roadblocks and have questions. Always remember, your elderly loved ones are too important not to speak up.

We know just how hard it is to take care of your aging parents. Do not wait to contact our law office and schedule a meeting with Attorney Alan Hougum to discuss your concerns right now or to ask for help in planning for the future.