Oftentimes visiting family over the holidays is a mixed bag of emotions. The hectic build up of getting everything together, packing, traveling, and the flurry of parties can be stressful. But at the same time it is wonderful to see everyone, reminisce, and catch up. Add to that, the potential concern about loved one’s safety and happiness, and you are officially on an emotional roller coaster.
You might have noticed that Mom or Dad have slowed down, had a hard time following the conversation or had bruises from falls or bumps they hadn’t told you about. Many times, it is the family members who are visiting from out of town who notice the changes the most. When gradual decline isn’t as recognizable on a daily basis, larger gaps between visits reveal more profound change. So for many out of town visitors, seeing how Mom or Dad are doing can be a bit of a surprise.
It may be evident that a loved one needs help around the house or even more significant support, but this is not always a comfortable conversation to have with them. After all, for decades the roles were reversed. Parents gave advice. They prepared their children for the next chapter, pointed out issues, and helped guide the kids into what they believed would be the best for them. So how do you even broach this conversation?
Before the conversation, do your homework.
- Create a list of your concerns for your aging parent. Are you worried, for example, that their home is no longer a safe environment for them? Or that the mistakes they keep making with their medication will have a dangerous outcome next time around? Write down all your concerns.
- Educate yourself. As you learn more about senior care options, you’ll get ideas about what will fit your parent best. Admitting just how much help your loved one needs isn’t easy, and you may find yourself downplaying just how serious their need for help really is. But be as objective as you can.
- Learn how important environment is for seniors. Where you live influences how well you live as you grow older – meaning location and environment have an effect on everything from physical safety to mental health to longevity. The more you learn about this, the better prepared you’ll be.
Also, please know that you aren’t alone, and there are more organizations than ever available to help you through this journey. For many families, it feels simplest to pick up the phone, and call us. To find a community near you, visit our communities page.