Tip Sheet for Visiting Aging Parents Over the Holidays

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Tip Sheet for Visiting Aging Parents Over the Holidays

Are you a long distance caregiver for an aging parent?  Will you be visiting him or her over the holidays? Or are you a caregiver that lives nearby and regularly visits with your loved one?  The following are check-in suggestions that can be helpful, should you question if your loved one might need extra assistance in the home environment or with their health.

  • Take a look at your loved one and observe
    • Does your loved one look like he or she has lost weight? Does he or she have any bumps or bruises? Any changes in one’s physical appearance could be a reason to talk to your loved one and make sure that he or she is eating enough, whether he or she has fallen lately, or if he or she is feeling well, both mentally and physically.
  • Talk to neighbors and nearby friends
    • If you are feeling uncertain whether your loved one is managing well in their home, an option is to check in with neighbors and friends who visit him or her. Ask them if they have noticed any difference in social activities, health, or eating habits.
    • For neighbors, ask if they have noticed any difference in your loved one’s activities. For example, is your loved one getting his or her mail? Is he or she taking out garbage regularly? Do they notice any difference in daily activities?
  • Take a look at the home environment of your loved one
    • Does there appear to be any clutter in the home such as unopened mail, items piling up, or expired food in the kitchen? Any of these observations might present a reason to have a candid conversation with your loved one.

 

When you notice that your loved one might need some help, it is important to ask and recognize what your loved one wants. Many older adults wish to age in place while others might actually prefer to move to a simpler setting such as a senior apartment or assisted living complex. We do not know until we ask. It is important to empower our loved ones.

 

There are many resources that we can use to support our loved one’s wishes. If you are concerned about your loved one aging in place in his or her own home, some of these suggestions could be helpful:

  • Some counties offer companionship programs that have “friendly visitor” services. A friendly visitor could spend time your loved one once a week or so to just check in and socialize. Some programs offer daily reassurance calls.
  • Make an appointment with a geriatrician to learn from their expertise if there are any medical concerns that he or she has for your loved one.
  • Paid caregivers are also an option if your loved one has trouble managing a certain daily activity, such as bathing, grooming, etc. and needs extra assistance. This could allow your loved one to remain independent in his or her own home and offer you peace of mind.
  • Your loved one’s local Area Agency on Aging may have a care management program. A care manager could visit and call your loved one periodically to check in and see if he or she needs any resources, such as in-home services or transportation. A care manager could also touch base with you to address any questions or concerns.

 

The Aging Institute is committed to supporting the specialized needs of our community’s aging population. If you have any questions, reach out to us at 866-430-8742, our website at aging.upmc.com.

 

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