BOSTON (CBS) –  Mother’s Day is next Sunday. So we need to talk more about our moms. As we age, we realize we have a responsibility to care for the older generation, our parents and grandparents.

May is national Older Americans Month. The government considers anyone over 65 as being an older American.

Older Americans Month is celebrated each May to honor and recognize older Americans for the contributions they make to our families, communities and society. This year’s theme Never Too Old To Play encourages older Americans to stay engaged, active and involved in their own lives and in their communities.

I do believe seniors want active lives but there is a huge difference between a 65 and 85-year-old and it’s 20 years. So if your mom is 65, she does not consider herself old. If she is 75 she is probably slowing down and if she is 85 she might consider herself elderly.

Individuals over 85 are the largest growing demographic in the United States. So if you have parents who are elderly they will probably need your help at some time.

So that said how about spending some time this week with your mom helping her get her financial stuff in order. This would make a great mother’s day gift. Moms are notorious for not wanting you to buy them something. They would prefer your spending some time with them. So here’s your opportunity.

Do not think about starting this process on Mother’s Day with everyone around. You want a quiet one-on-one conversation. At best, you and your siblings and mom. Start a dialogue about getting older. About what she thinks, what she may need from her kids.  Then proceed to the tough stuff.

Ask open-ended questions so she will talk about how she feels. If you ask her if she needs help paying her bills, the answer will be an empathetic “no”! Instead ask her if she has any concerns about running out of money. I have put together some common concerns:

  • Outliving her money; that is if she has money
  • Estate Planning; does she have a will, a power of attorney & health care proxy
  • Health issues; meds she is taking
  • Living alone; does she want to move closer to you, a sibling, assisted living
  • Driving; this is such a big issue.
  • Taking care of herself
  • Nursing home care (this usually gets an immediate and loud response!)

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