Questions to Ask Aging Parents Checklist

If your parents are still healthy and active, use this checklist of questions to help you prepare for a time when they may depend on you more.


Their Living Situation

  • Do you want to live in your house for as long as possible? Are there things we need to do to your house so it's safe and comfortable for you as you age? Can we make some of those changes now?

  • Are you willing to move into a smaller place that's easier to manage, like a condo? When?

  • Has either of you thought about whether you would want to stay in the house if you were alone?

  • Would you be willing to hire someone to help you at home if you can't do it on your own anymore?

  • Would you consider moving in with me or one of my siblings if we all agree that you need help with your personal care or aren't safe at home alone anymore? How do you feel about moving into an assisted-living facility?

  • Can I help you scout out quality assisted-living facilities and nursing homes now, so we know what's available and what you would prefer in case you need one in the future?

Their Health

  • Have you talked to your doctor about the normal aging process?

  • Will you consider giving your doctor permission to talk to us in case we have questions about your medical treatment?

  • Can one of us accompany you to some doctor's appointments? We recognize your right to privacy, but maybe we can help keep track of everything your doctor says at your visit.

  • Have you thought about what kind of medical treatment you want in the future and who would make those decisions if you can't make or communicate them on your own? Have you put these desires in writing?

  • How do you feel about being kept alive with ventilators, feeding tubes, or other interventions? And under what circumstances would you want that? Do we all understand what these terms mean?

  • If you have advanced-care–planning documents, where do you keep them? Have you shared them with any family members, doctors, or clergy?

Their Finance

  • Have you written a will? Does someone you trust know where it is? Whom should we contact about it?

  • Have you consulted a reliable financial planner who can help anticipate your needs as you age?

  • Are you willing to have a joint checking account with me so I can help you pay bills if necessary?

  • Can we discuss how I can help you handle some of your financial responsibilities, like reviewing credit-card statements and paying some bills?

  • Will you give me or another trusted person power of attorney over your financial affairs in case there's a time you can't handle them yourself?

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