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Parenting Your Parents

Parenting Your Parents is widely acclaimed as deeply moving and motivational. It leaves audiences informed, upbeat and ready to take needed action.

Jim Comer transforms audiences that often expect a somber lecture by sharing his own transformation from a self-absorbed writer to an active caregiver who discovered unexpected strength in dealing with his parents’ health crisis. Jim’s style is engaging, filled with stories and humor, and packed with valuable insights.

An important message for a wide range of audiences, Parenting Your Parents benefits sponsors in numerous ways:

  • Show leadership about a crucial life passage facing us all, one that many put off until it's too late
  • Provide practical, in-depth, real world information in an accessible, memorable and entertaining way
  • Demonstrate that your organization wants its audiences to hear straight talk - with humor and from the heart - from a man who dedicated 14-years of his life to care for his parents
  • Present a renowned and widely recommended author and keynote speaker
  • Direct support from the speaker for publicity and promotion to maximize the impact of the event and attract large audiences
    • Availability for radio, television and newspaper interviews
    • Ready-to-go PR and marketing materials such as fliers, headshots, video clips and copy
    • Marketing checklist based on time-tested best practices

Most important of all is Jim Comer’s personal commitment to the success of your event and the power and authenticity of his presentation.

Jim teaches audiences to:

  • Overcome fear and denial, and have "The Talk" while parents are healthy
  • Take action before the unforeseen happens - which could be tomorrow
  • Discover what your parents want, don't want — and can and can't afford
  • Reach out to your siblings — and other close family members — and come to agreements on future roles and responsibilities
  • Find out which siblings are going to show up and who will be missing in action
  • If siblings can’t be a primary caregiver, find out what they are willing to do. Maybe they can contribute financially, call every week, do the bookkeeping, or come once a year for two weeks while the primary caregiver takes a vacation

One phone call —
a 14-year odyssey

Jim Comer recounts — with generous doses of humanity and laugh-out-loud humor — the joys and jolts of unexpectedly becoming a parent to his elderly parents. In sharing the lessons learned in his 14-year journey, Jim’s audiences laugh a lot, cry a little, and learn valuable tips on how to prepare for, and ease the trials of caregiving. Jim helps caregivers learn how to watch for and appreciate the tender moments: the times of unexpected growth, joy and celebration.

An accomplished writer, speaker and speech coach, Jim chose to quit his corporate job and relocate to Texas. As he learned how to do his new “job,” Jim committed three years to writing a book and creating a speech — dedicated to his parents — as his mission to help others to be better prepared when it is their turn.

“I was at the peak of my career and enjoying a southern California lifestyle, having worked for almost three decades in New York and Los Angeles. I hadn’t lived near my parents since college. Suddenly, I received a panicked call from my parents’ neighbor in Dallas. The only surviving child, I was suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver for my 86 year old father - reeling from a massive stroke — and my 84 year old mother, suffering from Alzheimer’s. That call changed my life – and that of my parents – forever…”

“Jim Comer’s speech was a perfect fit for our conference. His message engages the mind, touches the heart, and has just the right touch of humor. Jim gave us exactly what we wanted.”

Jerry Svendsen
Conference Chairman, Let’s Talk: Generations Making Decisions Together, Phoenix, AZ

“Experiencing Jim Comer is like mixing a rock concert with an extraordinary lecture. His ability to entertain while educating and empowering is amazing.”

Darwin Huartson
Chaplain, Vitas Hospice,
San Antonio, TX

Communicate with your parents early and often. Find out what they want, don't want and can afford. Remember, there are no meaningful conversations on a respirator.

“…a few hours later, having taken the first flight to Dallas, I walked into the ICU, past friends and neighbors who looked relieved that ‘the one with all the answers had arrived.’ I didn’t even know the questions. As I saw my father lying unconscious among the monitors and tubes, I was overwhelmed. Then it hit me. There was no instruction manual for what I was facing — and facing alone. I hadn’t a clue what to do next, nor what was to come.”

Parenting Your Parents

“There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who are going to be caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who have been caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.”

— Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter

Jim’s keynote is for all four

Following his father’s massive stroke and mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Jim found himself an overnight ‘parent’ at 51. The only surviving child, he quit his job in California and relocated to Texas. Although everyone looked to him as the ‘man with all the answers,’ he soon realized he didn’t even know the questions.

Jim helps his audiences ask the right questions and find the answers they need:

  • Deal with hospitals and insurance companies
  • Learn what Medicare does and doesn’t cover
  • What to do when your Dad refuses to wear his $4,000 hearing aids
  • How to apply for Medicaid if your parents’ can’t afford to pay for long term care
  • How to respond when your mother asks the same question eight times in a row
  • What to say when your dad thinks you’re his brother

One of the most important lessons Jim learned was accepting his mother’s Alzheimer’s unconditionally — and learning to go into her world.

Jim’s talk is positive, entertaining and full of expert insights that challenge and inform his audiences. He makes key points in powerful, memorable ways, and illustrates them with true stories, personal experiences and hilarity that touches every audience member.

  • Have candid conversations about your parents’ futures — what they want and don’t want — before there’s a crisis and it’s too late
  • Make sure they have wills, powers of attorney and burial plans
  • Establish which siblings will be there when needed and who will be moving to New Zealand
  • Select first-rate care facilities and find the best long term care insurance
  • Make hospice care and end-of-life decisions

With laugh-out-loud humor, Jim delves into moments for which there’s no possible preparation:

  • Finding 3 gallons of scotch in your dad’s retirement home closet
  • Your mother, who can’t live alone, refuses to leave her home of 34 years and only promises of ice cream will coax her into the car
  • Your father loudly announces at a crowded Sunday dinner table that he wants you to give him an enema after lunch
  • 35 year olds may become caregivers and 85 year olds may be the ones to get their adult children to talk about what they’ve been avoiding

Through it all, Jim kept his wits — and his wit — and brings it all to his audiences. He shares the tools to help them navigate these turbulent waters while forging a deeper, more intimate relationship with their parents. He helps people learn that, “patience is the currency of love.”

When faced with a choice between being "right" and being kind, opt for kind every time. You'll never go wrong choosing kindness.

Jim Comer and Jill Lublin

“Authors often ask me to recommend their books, but I asked Jim Comer if I could recommend When Roles Reverse. It was an invaluable resource as I cared for my mother during the last years of her life. Jim’s book not only provided excellent practical advice, it is filled with humor and real-life stories that made me laugh and cry. When Roles Reverse is a must-read for anyone who is – or soon may be – a caregiver.”

Jill Lublin
Author of three New York Times bestsellers including Guerilla Marketing

“Jim Comer had 200 caregivers and healthcare professionals laughing, crying and learning. Jim speaks from the heart and connected with those who will be caregivers, are currently caregivers and have been caregivers.
Our audience gave Jim a standing ovation and - more importantly - left feeling that they could meet whatever challenges came their way. I highly recommend Jim Comer as a keynote speaker for any group that deals with caregivers or those who will soon start that journey.”

Glenda Rogers
Executive Director
Capital Area Agency on Aging, Austin, TX

“Jim Comer knows his subject and shares with his heart. He can make you laugh and cry and learn – all within a few minutes. Even my hard-to-please teen-aged grandchildren enjoyed him!”
Doris Griffin

Executive Director, Jefferson Outreach for Older People; Vice-Chair, Commission on Elder Affairs, San Antonio, Texas

Parenting Your Parents

About Jim Comer

With more than 25 years as a professional speaker, speechwriter and speech coach, Jim dazzles audiences and connects with groups large and small with his warm blend of humor, real-life experiences and poignant messages. An author of two nationally published books — including "When Roles Reverse: A Guide to Parenting Your Parents" — Jim speaks internationally on communication skills and his 14-year journey of caregiving for aging parents.

Jim worked as an actor in New York, appeared on seven quiz shows including Jeopardy, wrote jokes for Bob Hope and Joan Rivers and articles for the opinion pages of The New York Times and Washington Post. One of his books, How to Survive a Roommate, landed him on the Today Show with Jane Pauley. Jim worked as a speech coach and writer for Fortune 500 companies before relocating to Texas where he established Comer Communications.

In 1996, his life took a sudden detour when he quit his job and moved back to Texas after 30 years to care for his parents. This life-changing choice led to a rediscovery of real family values and the writing of "When Roles Reverse: A Guide to Parenting Your Parents" in dedication to his parents and with the hope that he might help others to be better prepared when it’s their turn.

Jim’s speeches, book and video help others learn from his difficult, demanding and often hilarious experiences, and encourages families to plan ahead and talk candidly about these difficult life decisions. The only surviving child, with a limited circle of close family members, Jim learned the hard way that adult children can handle the challenges of caregiving and find great joy in being there for their parents.

Jim Comer

Jim Comer

Speaker | Author | Speech Coach

“Jim Comer is a good-natured guide who brings significant tips on facing the challenges of parental care and enjoying the process.”

Liz Carpenter
Former Press Secretary to Lady Bird Johnson

Member-National Speakers Association
Parenting Your Parents

Read Jim's Book:

"When Roles Reverse:
A Guide to Parenting Your Parents"

Following his father’s massive stroke and his mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Jim Comer found himself an overnight “parent” at the age of 51. Though everyone looked to him as the “man who knew all the answers,” he soon realized he didn’t even know the questions.

In 14 years of caregiving, Jim lived the questions and learned the answers. He discovered how to deal with hospitals, insurance companies, Medicare, rehab centers, his father’s deafness and aversion to hearing aids, and his mother’s Alzheimer’s. Through it all, Jim kept his sense of humor and forged a deeper, more intimate relationship with his parents.

With laugh-out-loud humor, Jim deals with moments for which there is no preparation: you find three gallons of Scotch in your dad’s retirement home closet; your mother refuses to leave her home of 34 years and can only be coaxed into the car with promises of ice cream; at a crowded Sunday dinner table, your father announces loudly that he wants you to give him an enema after lunch.

Jim offers personal experience and interviews with experts on important issues:

  • Wills, powers of attorney, and other legal documents every family needs
  • Long term care insurance
  • How to choose a first-rate care facility
  • Hospice care and end-of-life decisions

When Roles Reverse includes an invaluable list, “Fifty Questions That Will Save You Time, Money and Tears.” With room to write the answers, the list helps families initiate essential communication to prepare for the crises, confusion and unexpected joys of caregiving.

When Roles Reverse was nominated for Best Non Fiction book by the Writers League of Texas.

When Roles Reverse

“I just wanted you to know how much your book helped me. I felt as if you’d been there with me and was able to personalize the experience. I’m sure your book and talk will help so many people. You have tackled a difficult subject with humor and compassion. Please be our guest if you are ever in Australia.”

Greg Roberts
Lakes Entrance, Victoria, Australia

Purchase Your Copy of Jim's Book:

When Roles Reverse: A Guide to Parenting Your Parents

$17.95 (plus shipping)

Parenting Your Parents

Contact Jim Comer

“Being a caregiver can be difficult, but you tell it like it is, with so much humor. You give us the ability to laugh and that’s what sees us through. I’m going to recommend as a keynote speaker for another caregiving conference.”

Sidney Farrier
Licensed Social Worker,
Certified Assisted Living Manager, Dallas, TX

Contact Jim to bring his powerful message to your organization

(512) 258-3700 | [email protected] |

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For more information on Jim Comer's other presentations and services, visit:

Comer Communications