There are times in which we leave some of the most important conversations with our family to emergencies or until we have to face it. As parents become older, our way of supporting and helping them can look a bit different than other communities. Here are a few tips and questions to assist you in reflecting on this piece and help get you started. Each situation is different and this is meant to serve as a guide.


  • Have you been able to discuss with your parents-what are they expecting out of you when they become of age or if they are?
    • Maybe they are expecting you to assist with rent every month.
    • Maybe they are expecting minimal assistance such as groceries.
    • Maybe they would like to eventually move in with you (or you and your family). This is important to note. We don’t know until we ask. This could be a scary conversation to have but it sets the foundation for additional reflections for yourself.
  • What about your siblings?
    • Are you an only child? Do you have siblings? What do your parents expect from you [and your siblings]?
      Perhaps you are the youngest, or the oldest. Culturally or within your family there may be dictations on duties.
  • Real limitations
    • Until what age do your parents feel they can continue to work? Are there any limitations in place? Perhaps they have a disability that does not allow them to work. Perhaps they want to work even after retirement.
      Are you living in another state? Can you only provide a certain amount of support? With online shopping programs you might still be able to help out even if you are not physically present.
    • If your parent is suffering from a chronic illness (cancer, arthritis, etc.) or a mental health issue (i.e. dementia, Alzheimers, etc.), it’s great to look into caregiver programs or perhaps applying to be a caregiver yourself. We need to provide the best care that our parents can receive and it’s important to accept our limitations as well. Do you worry about being overwhelmed with things and possibly forgetting to give the right medication to your parents? Or would you want to be in a space where you can be present and professional assistance is there?
    • Assisted living programs or hospice care are available. I know there is so much stigma surrounding these programs and what this means in the Latinx community. However, I want to encourage talking about these programs as a real possibility to a) break the stigma and b) allow a positive relationship with the centers and advocacy to provide the best care for your parents. (Check out Wendy Chamorro’s article How Culturally Relevant Care Impacted My Family)
  • Expectations of yourself
    • How do YOU expect to assist your parents? Do you want to be in a place fiscally to be able to provide for them? Do you want them to move in? Do you want to buy them a home so they can have peace of mind?
      Be gentle with yourself on these expectations. Often we expect a lot out of ourselves.

How to Carry the Load

  • Programs
    • There are so many community assistance programs that can help alleviate financial constraints. Make sure to look into these first to see how else you would like to step in. Application for food stamps and public assistance
      If they are much older, is a caretaker needed to help out? In Home Support Services, Social security, Disability services, working closely with their Primary care doctor. USC has a support center specific to caregivers.
      USC Family Caregiver Support Center (FCSC) | Los Angeles Caregiver Resource Center @ USC
  • Carrying the load together
    • Do any of your siblings make enough money to assist and help out? Can you and your siblings share the load?
    • Extended family and friends may also be able to help out! Aunts, cousins, adopted family members, neighbors can be our extended brothers and sisters at times.
    • How does your partner feel about helping your parents out? Are they also able to step in and offer assistance?
  • Type of load
    • Are you able to provide financial help? Most of us want this and it is the most practical, but there are other ways that we can help, such as:
      • Groceries? Perhaps you send them groceries through an application? Can you provide them with $50 every week for groceries? Maybe the best way to help is by cooking for them and dropping off food?
      • Helping with emergencies?
      • If the help is financial, are there certain limitations to what you would like to provide? (only emergencies, only up until this amount)


  • Your motivations
    • What is dictating your motivation to help your parents? Is it because you feel guilty, you feel shamed for not helping, or are being told this is your duty? This needs to come from within, so find some time to reflect deeply how important this is for you.
    • Many of us have adopted roles within our families. If you are always the one swooping in to fix a problem or issue and save the day, maybe it is time to take a step back in this instance and allow others to assist. It is a huge responsibility to care for an aging parent.
  • Boundaries
    • Assess your own financial boundaries. Emergencies happen and they can move things into crisis mode, but if you are unable to contribute when this happens , it is important to not feel obligated and only do what you can. If you continue to help when you’re unable, this may build feelings of resentment instead of security and safety.
    • You may have a family that you would like to start or have started. It is important to have this discussion with your partner on how to navigate situations that may arise with your parents.
  • Other ways to support
    • There are many other ways to help out if you cannot financially. There are many seniors who are isolated, feel alone, and would like more in person visits with their children and family.
  • Resilience
    • Encourage them to spend time with their friends, senior center groups, and to stay active within their own community and create purpose. Parents have so much knowledge and love to give.

We have to remember our parents are resilient no matter their current situation, they have made it through worse things in life and will continue to survive and find a way.