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Ms. Magnolia

Letters have been edited for length and clarity.

Dear Ms. Magnolia, I read the letter about parents being

embarrassed when other people find out

they don’t know much about their own children. The same applies to adult children knowing their older parents.

I am a local visiting nurse, and when an older patient becomes ill, we call in the adult children listed as emergency contacts. They are very often embarrassed when we ask them what medications their parent takes, what operations the parent has had, what friends should be contacted if the parent is missing. They often have no idea. I want to say, “What kind of child are you anyway?”

We know that older parents usually would like to be involved in their adult children’s lives, but they aren’t kept in the loop about what their children and grandchildren are doing, but they don’t want to be intrusive. It’s like they are no longer counted as family members.

Children of older parents should telephone on a daily or weekly basis, discussing their own work, the grandchildren’s activities and friends. And they should ask about their parents’ lives and needs and write down information (it may be needed sooner than they think). Older people are usually glad to know their children are interested in them. Nurse

Dear Nurse, I really appreciate hearing about the situations caring workers like you are confronting today. Your suggestions can help others. Thank you.

If you have a question for Ms. Magnolia, please mail it to P.O. Box 669, Vidalia, GA 30475, or e-mail to

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