Take Stock of Aging Parents During Holiday Visits
3 Tips to Prepare for the Future
Vivante on the Coast, a luxury retirement community, encourages families, during holiday visits with aging loved ones, to check on their health, discuss their senior care and review their important documents. Reuniting at the holidays is a natural time for adult children to observe their elderly parents and help them organize for long-term care.
“Many people go home ready to celebrate the family being together,” Jennifer Kornmann, Executive Director of Vivante, said. “Then they notice their parents have changing needs. Holidays are a good time to pause and check in on how your aging parents are really doing.”
Vivante suggests three ways to use family time to get organized for the future care of an aging loved one:
1. Take Stock of Health and Wellness
Evaluate your loved one’s living situation including eating habits and look for weight loss or gain. Ask about their medical visits and call their doctor for another perspective. Take a photo of their prescriptions for your records. Inquire about their social life and listen for mental health concerns. Look for red flags that identify potential safety, mobility and health issues.
2. Discuss Senior Living Choices
Families reuniting for the holidays enjoy reminiscing about past get-togethers. Turn on the video camera on and “interview” your parents on a variety of topics, such as growing up, their young adult years, favorite holiday traditions or whatever is of most interest to your family. This can ease you into the “tough conversation” on aging and different senior living options.
3. Review Important Financial and Legal Documents
Families can find themselves in a crisis needing to make quick decisions about care for an elderly parent or relative. Set aside time to collect important documents to prepare for a parent’s elder care and health care. Knowing where to find insurance cards, birth certificates, wills and financial records can help families be prepared for hospital visits and making decisions about senior care for their loved ones.
“Using your holiday visit for evaluating your aging parents is more effective than a phone call or short-term visit,” Kornmann said. “Being proactive and engaging your parents about their future may seem awkward, but knowing how they feel and understanding their legal and financial realities, helps your family make better choices.”