Though they come with promises of relaxation and time with family, the holidays can also be the source of a significant amount of stress. This is especially true if you have elderly parents and visiting them during the holidays makes you realize just how old they’re getting. It can sometimes come as a shock to learn that your parents are no longer as able to care for themselves as they once were, and this holiday season it may be a good time to have a discussion with your parents about their changing needs.
Coping with home life.
If your elderly parents are living at home, you may want to take some time to ensure that they are still able to keep up with all required maintenance. Some tasks can go unfinished because your parent simply isn’t able to do them anymore. Ask if there are any problems with the home, such as needed repairs, or other issues that your parent has not been able to get around to doing. Look also for safety hazards that may cause a fall, a major cause of disability for seniors.
Coping with isolation.
For single elderly parents, isolation can pose a significant health risk. Not only might the parent become lonely and suffer depression, but isolation can also mean the parent is unable to obtain help when needed. Consider developing a plan with friends, neighbors, and other family members to help the elderly parent become more active. Visiting more often or ensuring that the elderly parent is engaging in social activities can also be a great benefit.
Enjoy the holiday season with your parents, but also keep a keen eye out for their current circumstances and what you may be able to do to help improve things. A very important aspect of this is to make sure they have in place up to date and comprehensive legal documents that will address not only the orderly disposition of their assets at their death, but also the ability to effectively handle their personal and health affairs in case of a disability, including such things like dementia. Many older planning documents or boilerplate forms just are not adequate to deal with the many aspects of today’s societal needs.