Starting the Conversation

Starting the Conversation

Your dad’s neighbor just called to tell you that your 79-year-old father sideswiped his parked vehicle and nearly hit a child standing nearby. Was it an isolated slip-up or the sign that it’s time for your dad to think about giving up his car keys? More importantly, how do you begin the discussion about such a potentially volatile subject?

Sensitive issues like this prompted Home Instead Senior Care to launch a public education campaign called the “40-70 Rule.” This campaign will help adult children begin to address difficult issues with their parents such as driving, finances, independence and even romance. The “40-70” Rule’ means that if you are 40, or your parents are 70, it’s time to start the conversation about some of these difficult topics.

The campaign is based on research conducted in the U.S. and Canada by Home Instead Senior Care, which revealed that nearly one-third of adults in the U.S. have a major communication obstacle with their parents that stems from continuation of the parent-child role. In other words, it can be difficult to get the conversation going because the child is still in a child role rather than an adult role with their aging loved one.

The goal of the “40-70” campaign is to provide practical ways for adult children to talk to their parents now instead of waiting until the situation reaches crisis mode. At the center of the “40-70 Rule” campaign is a guide for conversation starters on sensitive senior-care subjects, which is available online at The guide was compiled with the assistance of Jake Harwood, Ph.D., national author and communication professor from the University of Arizona who is the former director of that school’s Graduate Program in Gerontology.

Good communication is vital to helping families know when it’s time to seek additional resources. Oftentimes both adult children and their loved ones can benefit from outside help, such as a professional caregiver. The only way that can happen is if they are first able to talk about developing care needs. Find out more about the 40/70 Rule at

Article Provided by:
Mike Brunt, Home Instead Senior Care
(503) 530-1527

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