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Conversation Starter Guides

Download these easy-to-read guides from Home Instead and author and communications expert Dr. Jake Harwood. These guides includes common family situations and sensitive circumstances that often pose communication problems for both older adults and their children or loved ones. Topics include independence, health, end-of-life issues and even romance. These guides also features conversation tips for both seniors and their family caregivers. A section on advance directives, designed with the assistance of Jo Myers, author and advance planning expert, will help ensure that families are prepared for the inevitable.

Download the full
"40-70" Rule® Booklet

(PDF 800K)
Download the full
"70-40" Rule® Booklet
(PDF 600K)


  • 40/70 Conversation Topics
    The time to start talking with senior parents is sooner rather than later, when a crisis has occurred. But how do you bring up sensitive subjects? These tips and common senior situations are just what you need to get started.
  • 70/40 Conversation Topics
    Even seniors who have great relationships with their children can be tongue-tied when it comes to starting conversations about certain sensitive subjects. These tips as well as examples of how to get the conversation going can help.
  • Want to know how prepared you are to have these important conversations?
    Take our 40-70 Rule®: Communication Assessment or seniors, take our 70-40 Rule®: Communication Assessment to find out.
Last revised: August 18, 2011

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. May 26, 2014 at 11:33 am | Posted by Donna S.

    5/26/14 Hello, My name is Donna, my husband George was diagnosed the AZ disease July 2013. He is 70yrs old and has 2 grown son's from a previous marriage. I also have two daughters from a previous marriage. I am his main caregiver, he is in the moderate stage right now, but I seeing decline more clearly every day. His son's seem to only worry that they could get AZ, and make many promises but don't always follow thru. I therefore am overloaded with responsibility. I feel as if I want to stop the world and get off! I am so sad watching my husband get more and more confused, but realistically I do need help from my step sons, the house and the yard. My husband is forgetting how to do things around here now..any suggestions to get his boys to help more?? Thanks Donna S!


  2. March 11, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Posted by lisa

    Need to talk about no driving and safe choices for living.


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