Oh, Thanksgiving. It usually means heading away from the hustle and bustle of life to spend time with family and friends, eat yummy food, and hopefully get some R and R.  A visit back home can often uncover problems or raise concern for your aging parent.  Perhaps this trip will leave you wondering if they are able to manage in their home, able to handle the maintenance of their home,  or if they are isolated and lonely in their big old house.

Here are a few easy signs to look for that may indicate problems:

Unpaid bills or piling paperwork

Missed appointments

Poorly stocked pantry or out-of-date food

Medication errors

Lack of general home maintenance

Excessive sleeping, lack of interest in usual activities, weight loss, or poor hygiene

Frequent falls

For many families, holiday visits are the only opportunity to observe our loved ones and it is not unusual for adult children to uncover problems during their visit home.  After-all, rarely will  an elder call and say, “I cannot manage alone and I need help to continue living here.”  Far more often, the signs appear slowly and without the request for help.  These visits can leave adult children wondering what to do next.  The holidays with aging parents can be bittersweet, but by maintaining a positive attitude, the emphasis can be on the sweet.  Do not try to fix , just enjoy being together for the holiday and afterwards you can begin to look for solutions.

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