Helping Aging Parents Help Themselves

Three Steps

March 24, 2017

Many of us are confronted with the unenviable task of managing the wealth, health and overall wellbeing of parents who – unpleasant though it is to accept – can no longer adequately look after themselves. Most experts agree that there are three areas to pay attention to:

  1. Finances
  2. Exercise
  3. Nutrition


    1. Consolidate accounts. They will benefit from lower fees and a more integrated approach. This strategy will help you stay on top of things, if that is necessary. Aging parents can be vulnerable to scams. This will help you remain alert.

  1. Review statements. If they’re comfortable sharing their financial details, your parents can set you up to receive – with the assent of their existing financial advisor, should they have one – copies of their statements.
  2. Prepare a financial data organizer. Summarize accounts, details of any life insurance policies and, if they have safety deposit boxes, be sure you know where to find important legal documents and account passwords. Care should be taken to consult their existing financial advisor of the steps – and there are others – you are suggesting be taken. Sensitivity is key.


  1. Encourage your parents to exercise. Exercise delivers many benefits: fewer heart risks, improved sleep and memory, less depression and pain, better bone strength, and fewer falls.
  2. Suggest they do anything that sounds like fun: walk briskly, ride a stationary bike, or take a dance class. Alternating aerobics with strength and flexibility training makes for a well-rounded program.


  1. Consider encouraging your aging parents to Go Mediterranean. With its emphasis on fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest ways in the world to eat.
  2. The Mediterranean diet has been linked to better heart health and greater longevity. Suggest cutting down on butter. Recommend switching to unsaturated olive oil for cooking, and the use of olive oil for salad dressings.
  3. Encourage them to switch to fish. Twice a week, propose that they substitute a serving of salmon, herring, or albacore tuna for red meat.

Invite them to consider vegetables like broccoli, kale, carrots, and tomatoes. Suggest they grill or steam them, or serve them raw, instead of frying. Loading up on vegetables is good advice for aging parents, and for us!

To find out how we can help you help aging parents help themselves , please contact Michael Fahy, The Michael Fahy Group, 604-691-7207.