Is your family planning a visit to Mom or Dad’s house over the holiday season? The days will be full with family dinners, holiday preparations, outings and plenty of other activities of the season. However, if you are a long-distance caregiver, a visit home is an excellent time to observe your aging parent’s daily schedule and household routine by reviewing the following tips for a holiday visit with parents.
Helpful Tips for Holiday Visit
1. Prepare a meal together and check out pantry supplies and refrigerator contents for freshness, variety, and a healthful selection. Check for stale foods and certain staples that may need to be replenished during your visit.
2. Ask your parent if you can review their medications so that you can build a comprehensive list for your records and for your parent’s convenience during doctor’s visits. Check for expiration dates, prescription duplications, or medications that were prescribed long ago.
3. Observe your parent’s daily routine. Has Mom or Dad lost interest in hobbies or activities that once kept them engaged? Has a tidy home grown cluttered, messy or unkempt? Consider the reasons for a sudden change in habit.
4. Check Mom’s weight. Has she gained or loss weight in recent weeks? Does Dad drink enough water to avoid dehydration? If there is a significant weight loss or gain, consider scheduling a doctor’s appointment for a routine exam.
5. Does Dad stumble at the front door threshold? Make observations about balance and control, difficulty in rising from a favorite chair or bed, and check the floors for rugs that can cause a trip or fall hazard.
6. Listen. Listen carefully to what your parents say (and don’t say) to you during a conversation. Your parents have been living with their changing needs every day and they have good ideas about what will and will not work in their environment.
If you discover a concern in your parent’s daily routine, discuss this topic with your parents and ask them if they have a suggestion for making changes in their routine that would be helpful. Remember to treat your parents with dignity, while respecting their control over their own lives.