When Visiting Elderly Parents This Thanksgiving, Take Time for THANKS

As we gather together to give thanks this week, don’t miss the opportunity to check in on elderly loved ones. While phone calls throughout the year are important, seeing mom and dad in person can be the best way to assess physical and mental issues.

Give thanks this year by assessing how your mom and dad’s needs are being met:

  • T – Their health – Have there been any noticeable health changes since you last saw them? Are they taking their prescriptions and are they up-to-date? Be sure to ask them about recent doctor visits and make sure they are routinely visiting health care professionals.
  • H – Home – Perform a basic home assessment to see if their home is still meeting their needs. Pay special attention to the bathroom, kitchen and entryways.
  • A – Appearance – Have there been any physical changes that you weren’t aware of that should be discussed with their doctor? Has their mobility changed or have there been any drastic weight changes?
  • N – Nutrition – Are they eating regularly? Is there food in the cabinets or refrigerator and is it fresh?
  • K – Knowledgebase – Do you know where important papers (such as wills, medical directives, insurance papers) are kept? Do you know who to contact in an emergency if you can’t reach your parents? Do you know how bills are paid and if they are managing their finances?
  • S – Skills – Assess your parents’ mental and physical skills to see if they need additional help or if you need to make changes. Are dad’s reaction times good enough to keep him safe on the road? Is it time to consider bringing in someone to help with cleaning or laundry?

Talk to your friends and family while you are all together and approach caregiving as a team effort. If you don’t have time to discuss changes between the big meal and game, schedule a meeting online or on the phone to discuss your parents’ care and what changes need to be made.

Caring for your parents doesn’t just happen on holidays. Use the holidays to not only give thanks for all your blessings, but to see how you can help make sure your parents’ needs are being met.

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