Aging Parents and Your Emotional Well-Being – Maud Purcell article published on

Browse the bookstore. Check the Web. You’ll find extensive information about how to assist your aging parents. What you’re unlikely to find, however, is help for the myriad feelings you will experience as your mom or dad ages. Baby boomers frequently share with me the roller coaster of emotions they experience as a parent’s health declines. They are unprepared for these intense reactions and need help understanding them. Most of all, they need reassurance that their reactions are normal.

How Will You Feel?

Initial reactions

  • Fear. When you first realize that your mom or dad is becoming less functional, you will likely experience fear. If you have thought of your parent as capable and strong, it is frightening to anticipate a role reversal — one where you are now there to care for them.
  • Grief. — As your dad ages he will no longer be quite the robust man you once knew. This change will trigger the same grieving process that accompanies other life transitions. Further, you will probably grieve each major change in your dad’s functioning over time. If you think of grieving as a healing process — one that leaves you intact after a loss — it will be much …

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