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When Your Aging Parent Needs Help: A Geriatrician’s Step-by-Step Guide to Memory Loss, Resistance, Safety Worries, & More

June 21, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

On Monday evening, June 21st, IOA welcomes geriatrician Leslie Kernisan, MD, MPH and Paula Spencer Scott, to an AgeOn online event, as they talk about their recent book, When Your Aging Parent Needs Help: A Geriatrician’s step-by-step guide to memory loss, resistance, safety worries, and more (Better Health While Aging Books, 2021).

The authors will discuss their step-by-step approach to how families can respond respectfully yet effectively, when an older parent begins to experience difficulties—especially given that denial, resistance, privacy, or disagreement can add friction, even in the closest of relationships. Their practical roadmap walks families through what to say – and what to do — when worrisome changes are noted in an older parent. Part relationship guide and part eldercare problem-solver, the book is based on Dr. Kernisan’s extensive experience evaluating cognitive concerns and coaching families through the early stages of dealing with memory loss or other signs of decline.

Scott, Kernisan’s frequent collaborator, is familiar with these inter-generational dynamics, both professionally and personally. Together, they turned Dr. Kernisan’s 1:1 guidance to clinic families and workshop attendees into a step-by-step format accessible to anyone—in keeping with their mission to help everyone learn to “think like a geriatrician.”

“Far too many adult children struggle with uncertainty and doubt when it comes to helping their parents,” says Bill Thomas, MD, founder of Changing Aging. “This book is the missing piece that turns a puzzle into a picture.”


  • Identify 3 common mistakes families often make when trying to address signs of decline
  • Implement six steps families can take if they think an aging parent needs help – even if the parent is resisting.

For More Information & Registration:  https://ioakernisanandscott.eventbrite.com

Cost: Free, but donations accepted at registration


Geriatrician Leslie Kernisan is the founder of the website and podcast Better Health While Aging (https://betterhealthwhileaging.net) and the Helping Older Parents online programs. Her focus: Helping older adults and their families manage late-life health challenges. She’s the author (with Paula Spencer Scott) of When Your Aging Parent Needs Help: A Geriatrician’s Step-by-Step Guide to Memory Loss, Resistance, Safety Worries, and More. UCSF-trained in internal medicine, geriatrics, and healthcare quality improvement, she has a private geriatrics consultation practice and is a Clinical Instructor in the Division of Geriatrics at UCSF. Dr. Kernisan is also a former site medical director for the Over 60 Health Center in Berkeley. She lives in San Francisco.

Paula Spencer Scott is an award-winning writer and editor on health and aging. She’s co-author (with Dr. Leslie Kernisan) of When Your Aging Parent Needs Help (2021) and author of Surviving Alzheimer’s: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers (2018). Her dozen other books include collaborations with doctors at UCLA (The Happiest Toddler on the Block), Harvard (The V Book), Duke (Consciously Female; Body, Soul, and Baby), and Arizona State (Bright From the Start), and a series of interactive journals (An Oral History, The Mother-Daughter Journal, Like Mother-Like Son, Pregnancy Journal). A health correspondent for Parade, her articles have also appeared in Next Avenue, AARP Bulletin, Woman’s Day (where she was a columnist for ten years), and many other national media. A longtime caregiving advocate, she often speaks on helping families deal with dementia, and on brain health. She lives in Colorado.

Praise for When Your Aging Parent Needs Help

“When Your Aging Parent Needs Help” gives adult children easy-to-understand answers to the many challenging questions they have about their aging parents’ health, behavior, and safety. Even more important, it raises questions that they may not have even known to ask. And the answers are supported by communication tools and strategies to deal with obstacles they may encounter. Dr. Leslie Kernisan, a geriatrician, and her co-author Paula Spencer Scott have combined their years of experience to offer practical, realistic, and respectful ways to guide both readers new to caregiving and those experienced but still searching.” – Carol Levine, Senior fellow and former director, Families and Health Care Project, United Hospital Fund, and MacArthur Foundation fellow

“An essential step-by-step guide for families wondering how to respond when an older parent begins to experience difficulties. Full of sound practical advice, compassion, expert wisdom, and helpful resources.” – Judith Graham, Navigating Aging columnist, Kaiser Health News

“An outstanding guide for anyone concerned about an aging parent. The ‘cheat sheets’ alone are worth ten times the purchase price, helping to ensure the best chance at success. Family caregivers stress about ‘fixing’ things. This guide will provide a step-by-step process for the journey.” – Linda Fodrini-Johnson, MA, MFT, CMC, Geriatric care manager/consultant/educator and past president, Aging Life Care Association

“Invaluable advice and direct access to practical tools–like having your own geriatrician.”- Amy Goyer, Family caregiving consultant and author of AARP’s Juggling Work, Life, and Caregiving


June 21, 2021
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm


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