Gathering with loved ones for the holidays brings special memories and traditions. It’s also a good time to assess the needs of your parents and make certain they are getting the care and help needed. You will always be your parent’s child, but there comes a time to face difficult questions. Preparing for these conversations in advance can help you navigate these challenging situations and help your parents gain peace of mind for the future. Here are some areas to explore:
Is your parent able to drive safely?
Driving is often synonymous with freedom for seniors. Determine if your parent is driving safely and find out when their license is due for renewal. Make sure their vehicle is running well and does not need repairs. Help them discover public transportation options in the area and connect them with friends who can transport them if they cannot continue driving themselves.
Are there falling risks or other accident risks present in the home?
Check for uneven floors, loose rugs, or shelving that has items too high for them to reach. Work to make their home as safe as possible to avoid common home injuries. Ask if there are areas that concern them and arrange for repairs if needed. Our team at Guardian offers a free home assessment. Call 765-530-8011 to schedule an appointment.
Do they have information you may need in the future?
Find out about any existing wills, trusts, and insurance policies. Have they established a Living Will, Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order, or final wishes? Gather a list of financial institutions, doctors, specialists, accountants, attorneys, or financial planners they are consulting.
Do they need help with errands or daily tasks?
It’s usually hard for older adults to ask for help, but when it’s offered there may be a sense of relief. Are trips to the grocery store becoming difficult? Do they need assistance with house cleaning? Are outdoor tasks too much for them right now? Are they still able to cook for themselves? Home care agencies like Guardian can come alongside family and friends to help seniors remain independent at home without feeling overburdened.
Are holiday gatherings becoming too stressful to host?
If your parent is still hosting holiday gatherings, it may be time to rethink the annual traditions. Perhaps the family can pitch in to help with the meal or clean the home. Decorating together may begin new traditions and bring up stories that can be passed down to a new generation.
Do they want to stay in their home?
It may be time to sell the family home and downsize to something more practical. Are finances available if they choose to move to a senior living facility? If they want to remain at home, is there a need for home care or home health assistance? The goal is to balance the needs of your parents with their desire to feel “at home” wherever they are.
While discussions around topics like this may seem challenging at the time, most parents appreciate when a child brings up these matters. Making plans now can lessen the stress when the time arises to make changes.
More resources that can help:
When Roles Reverse: A Guide to Parenting Your Parents by Jim Comer
Area Agencies on Aging (www.n4a.org)
37 East Main Street
Hagerstown, IN 47346
Phone: (765) 530-8011