The holiday season is always special; it’s a time when we gather with friends and family to celebrate longstanding traditions and find time to make new ones. Holiday visits can also be an excellent opportunity to talk to your aging parents and family members about their potential long-term care needs.
But where do you start? Your overall goal should be to host an honest conversation about their current health situation. Here are a few questions to keep in mind:
Evaluate their ability to live independently
- Do they struggle to get dressed or use the restroom without help?
- Are they able to lend a hand in the kitchen or adequately feed themselves during dinner?
- Can they get around their house safely or does the home present any safety issues?
- Are they struggling with other everyday tasks?
Consider their overall health
- How are they feeling?
- Have they had any recent doctor visits or checkups they are willing to discuss?
- Have they noticeably lost weight and are they maintaining their personal health?
Observe their emotional and mental state
- Do they have a positive attitude or do they frequently require encouragement to accomplish ordinary tasks?
- Are they still participating in their usual activities and hobbies?
- Are periodic memory lapses, such as forgetting names of relatives or household items, disrupting their lives?
- Do they repeatedly ask the same questions?
You can also test their memory during holiday visits by asking about notable dates or events, or by giving them a couple key words to remember and asking them to repeat the words throughout your visit.
Phone calls and emails are a great way to regularly check in on aging parents and loved ones, but holiday visits can be a valuable opportunity to get a clear picture of their well-being. As you catch up on the year’s events and relive old memories at your holiday gatherings this year, spend some time considering your family’s future as well. It may turn out to be the right time to take the first step toward long-term care planning and discussing how solutions like long-term care insurance can help preserve their independence and ensure their needs are met.