Here are some tips for managing a holiday visit with aging relatives:
- Don’t ignore signs, but don’t jump the gun either. There could be a medical reason for a cognitive decline, including depression, skipped prescriptions or even dehydration. Seek medical care before taking drastic steps.
- Engage your parents. No independent adult wants to be bossed around by their children, no matter how well-meaning. Work together on solutions, listen, and give your parents a say in their own life.
- Make simple adjustments. Put an extra handrail on stairs and add grab bars in the shower. Put levered handles on doors, or make sure often-needed food items or toiletries are on lower shelves. Remove small rugs from the kitchen or bathroom or other obstacles in the home that might lead to a fall.
- Consider the caregivers. If nearby siblings are taking on more duties, don’t judge their approach. Recognize they are juggling obligations and find ways to support them.
- Plan ahead. Don’t bring up emotional issues at the dinner table. Plan a family meeting or conversation at a quieter time, when everyone can be focused and be heard. And define a single purpose — helping your parent remain independent as long as possible or planning for a move.
- Turn to experts. State and local communities have ample experience and resources for family members. You don’t have to figure it out on your own.
For more information on assisted living, contact Spring Arbor.