The holiday season gives us a great opportunity to get together with friends and family, especially if you live far away. For many adult children, visiting aging parents during the holidays can come as a shock. You might notice changes in their physical health, or even in their cognitive abilities. For those who are unable to see their parents often, the holidays provide an opportunity to assess your parent’s condition and to make changes when necessary. As you prepare to visit with your loved ones, keep these ideas for conversations with aging parents in mind.
Many families choose to spend long periods of time together over the holidays. During this time, you might consider talking with your parents about their current health status. You might notice they seem a bit older, frailer, or perhaps they aren’t getting the care they need. During your visit, take note of their environment, hygiene practices, and weight. If you notice their living space is unkempt, or if there is rotting food in the fridge or unpaid bills sitting out, it could be an indication that they need more care. You can gently approach these topics by simply asking them how they are feeling.
As we age, our financial situations can change quickly. If your parent had an unexpected illness or a long-term hospital stay, they might need to address their financial planning. It can be hard to know exactly what to plan for, so reevaluating your financial situation at least once a year can keep you on track. You might encourage your parents to schedule a meeting with their financial planners. If they are cognitively unable to manage their finances, you might encourage them to choose someone they trust to step in as their power of attorney.
As you spend time with your parents this holiday season, you might consider talking to them about their wishes for the future. This could include readdressing their will, and discussing where they want to spend their later years if they haven’t already decided. You might also consider discussing end-of-life wishes such as burial plans and other long-term plans for their finances. This can be a difficult topic to discuss, so remember to bring the conversation up gently and to readdress the conversation when necessary.
Things to Look Out For While Visiting Aging Parents
If you haven’t visited your parents in a while, it’s important to take note of their living environment. If you notice any of the following, make sure to contact their healthcare provider:
- Excessive bruising, especially on the arms
- Dramatic weight loss
- Unpaid or overdue bills
- Lack of hygiene, including inconsistent bathing and wearing dirty clothing
As you prepare to spend the holidays with your family, our Carespring facilities in Dayton, Cincinnati, and Northern Kentucky wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season.