Things to avoid saying to your elderly parents

Things to avoid saying to your elderly parents

Read Time: 3 mins

Things to avoid saying to your elderly parents

Here are a few examples of things to avoid saying to your elderly parents:

 “You have to …

  • Why is this taking so long ?
  • We have to make a decision about …
  • I keep telling you that …
  • When will you …?
  • That’s exactly why you should…
  • Isn’t it obvious that…
  • What are you going to do about ?…”


The main reason that the above phrases are not helpful is that they sound like the adult child is telling the parent what to do.    There is a contradiction implicit in the phrase “adult child” because on the one hand you are an adult and on the other, you are still the child of your elderly parent.  It can be tricky trying to communicate with family members about things they may not want to talk about.  When talking with your parents it is best to try and find out what your parent’s concerns are and listen to those rather than trying to jump straight in and fix a problem.  So maybe try the following questions?

  • How are you getting on?
  • How are you feeling lately?
  • How have you been managing?
  • Are you able to move around OK?
  • Are you worried about anything?
  • I see that you seem a bit hesitant about [getting up from the chair]
  • Can I help with that?
  • You seem a bit quiet lately, is there anything on your mind?
  • You know I care about you and I would like to understand how you are feeling.


If your parent is not answering your questions, then slow down a little and maybe repeat some of the questions or rephrase them.  You can pause and say hmmm … and give them space to say more.   Be aware of things to avoid saying to your elderly parents.  You can offer to look into their concerns for them or try and find out more information.

If you would like to discuss any of the above issues please go to to book a consultation.


Never Miss a Post

Subscribe to Emer’s newsletter for the latest news and expert advice on planning ahead…