Questions to Ask Your Aging Parents

Questions to Ask Your Aging Parents

As your parents age, it is a good idea to start planning so that you know what their wishes are and how to take care of them if they can no longer take care of themselves. There are many family caregivers taking care of aging parents in the United States. According to the Pew Research Center, “There are 40.4 million unpaid caregivers of adults ages 65 and older in the United States. Of that group, nine-in-ten are providing care for an aging relative.” (1)

This topic can be challenging to talk to your parents about, but it is important to know what to do when the time comes. There are a variety of questions you should ask your aging parents regarding their health, legal matters, finances, and caregiving preferences.

Senior Health and Wellness

  • How Is Your Health and Overall Well-Being?

It is important to check in on your aging parents regularly to ensure they are in good health and that all their needs are met. Try to monitor their health and habits while you visit them. Check on things like weight, eating habits, ability to walk, and hygiene.

If you notice any issues with their ability to walk, consider getting them a medical alert device. This way, if they happen to fall, they will have a simple and easy way to contact somebody for help. All they need to do is press the panic button on their device and they will be connected with an emergency response agent at Alert1’s 24/7 Command Center. Then they can talk with the agent through a two-way speaker to get the help they require.

  • Do You Visit the Doctor?

Ask your loved one if they have been visiting their doctor and ask them for any updates about their health. According to the Mayo Clinic, “For most older adults, it’s a good idea to have at least one medical checkup a year.” (2) It is important that they visit their doctor to ensure that they are healthy and getting any treatments or medication they may need. By getting insight about their doctor visits for yourself, you can help them manage their wellness plans.

If your parents go to visit their doctor on their own and you're concerned about them getting back and forth safely, consider getting them an on-the-go alarm button with fall detection for seniors.  When the fall detection sensor within the device registers a fall, it will automatically connect to Alert1’s 24/7 Command Center to summon an emergency response agent for help. Using the GPS tracker within the device, the agent can determine where to send medical help.

  • What Medications Are You Taking?

Ask your aging loved one about the medications that they are taking as well as if they have been taking them. It is important that they take their medication so that they feel better as they go about their daily routine. If they are forgetting to take their medication, consider getting them an automatic medication dispenser for seniors. This device can be programmed to dispense up to four pills per day. It is tamper proof and can help remind them to take their medication daily.

  • Do Your Medications Increase Your Fall-Risk?

It is also important to be aware of how medication can affect the risk of falling. According to a study on, “The use of sedatives and hypnotics, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines demonstrated a significant association with falls in elderly individuals.” (3) Check your parents’ medications to see if they could be increasing their risk of falling. If they are, help them use fall prevention strategies to decrease their risk of falling.

You may also want to consider buying them an Alert1 medical alert system for seniors. This way, if they do fall, they have an easy way to contact someone for help if they need it. At the press of a button, they can talk to someone who can get them the help they require.

  • How do you feel about being kept alive with ventilators, feeding tubes, or other life-preserving interventions?

This question can be difficult to ask aging parents, however, if the situation arises you will know what their wishes are so you can make the right choice. Ensure that they understand the pros and cons of each option so that they can make a well-informed decision.

Legal Matters

  • What Are Your End Of Life Wishes?

Ask your parents if they have any end of life wishes. This can include things that they want to do or see while they are still able, preferences about their funeral, preferences about medical treatments, or any other special requests.

  • Do You Have Durable Power of Attorney?

Power of attorney allows someone to act on behalf of someone if they have the inability to make their own decisions. Ask your parents if they already have a durable power of attorney or if they would like to get one set up.

  • Do You Have a Living Will or Trust? Do You Need Help Making One?

According to LegalZoom, “By most estimates, anywhere from 50–60% of Americans don't have a will.” (4) Wills and trusts involve the transfer of property after someone passes on. Wills are legal documents that require probate or court supervised proceedings, while trusts do not. If your parents already have one, ask them where you can access the information if you need it. If your parents do not have one, ask them if they would like help setting one up.

  • Do You Have a Long-Term Care Insurance Plan?

Long term senior health care insurance covers long term services and support. It can help cover services such as in-home care, adult day care, assisted living, and nurses. Knowing if your parents have long term care insurance can help you determine a senior care plan when the time comes.

  • Where Can I Find Necessary Documents? Are They Updated?

Ask your parents where you can find any necessary legal or financial documents that you made need when they can no longer take care of themselves. Knowing where papers like this are located can make senior care planning significantly easier for you.

Finances for Seniors

  • Do You Have a Financial Advisor?

Financial advisors can help seniors manage their money and finances so that they can avoid financial decline and financial abuse. It is helpful to know if your parents have a financial advisor so that you know if they need any help from you with their finances. If they do not have one, consider helping them find a licensed advisor, preferable one who specializes with elder planning.

  • How Can I Help You with Your Finances?

If they don't have a financial advisor, ask them how you can help with their finances. They may need help with paying bills, money management, loans, or investing. Be sure to investigate budgeting apps and financial apps for seniors as they can be helpful in managing your loved ones’ finances as well.

  • Would You Consider a Joint Checking Account?

If you notice that your loved ones are having any trouble managing their finances, consider asking them if they would like to share a joint checking account with you. This way you can more easily help them manage their money.

  • What Does Your Monthly Budget and Spending Look Like?

If you start to notice a decline in their cognitive abilities such as difficulty making decisions and trouble performing basic math, it is a good idea to start monitoring their monthly budget and spending habits. This can help protect them from financial decline. Ask them about their monthly budget or even if they would allow you to monitor their bank account. Then make sure they aren't spending more than they can afford. If they are having difficulty managing their money, consider hiring a financial advisor for seniors.

  • Do you receive Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security?

Ask your parents if they receive Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security so that you know what resources can help pay for their caregiving needs in the future.

Caregiving for Seniors

  • What Are Your Preferences If You Can No Longer Take Care of Yourself?

If the point in time comes where your parents can no longer take care of themselves, ask them if they have any preferences about caregiving. For instance, would they rather age in place or receive care in a nursing home?

Many seniors prefer to age in place, however, circumstances such as budget and caregiver availability can greatly influence the situation. Talk to them about your situation and ask them about their preferences. Even if you can’t give them what they want when the time comes, it is good for both of you to know that the topic was discussed.

If they wish to retain their independence and age in place, you can also consider buying a medical alert watch for them. This way, they will have an easy way to contact emergency response professionals for help if they need it. Alert1’s medical alert wrist watch can also tell them the weather and track their steps so that they can prepare for the day and meet their fitness goals.

  • How Do You Feel About a Caregiver?

If you have a full-time job, it may be difficult for you to visit your parents daily. Ask them how they feel about hiring a professional caregiver. You can also ask them if they have any preferences about their personal caregiver such as gender, personality, and skills. If you do have to hire a caregiver, you will know what qualities to look for so you can choose the best one for them.

  • Do You Want Medical Alert Technology for Seniors?

An emergency button alarm can be a useful tool that provides peace of mind for your parents and the rest of your family. If your parents have an accident, fall, or medical event, you will know that they have a quick and easy way to contact emergency help. By pressing the panic button, they will connect with a certified emergency response agent who will ask them questions about their situation and determine the kind of help they need. Then the agent will contact either their Circle of Care or a medical professional for help. Their Circle of Care is a list of pre-determined contacts that are registered when the Alert1 device is first purchased.

Alert1 offers both an in home medical alert necklace and an on-the-go personal button alarm. You can also add fall detection to both systems. If you prefer a more modern option, you can also opt for a medical alert wrist watch.

By asking your parents these important questions, you can help prepare for the future and give yourself some peace of mind. You will know that you have the knowledge you need to make choices on behalf of your parents and can do your best to honor their wishes.



1 Stepler, Renee. Nov. 2015. Health Policy. Pew Research Center. 5 Facts About Family Caregivers.

2 Torborg, Liza. June. 2017. News Network. Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic Q and A: Do Healthy Older Adults Need Regular Health Care Visits?.

3 Woolcott, John C. et al. Nov. 2009. Arch Intern Med. Meta-Analysis of the Impact of 9 Medication Classes on Falls in Elderly Persons.

4 LegalZoom staff. Oct. 2021. Estate Planning Basics. LegalZoom. Estate Planning Statistics.