Happy Holiday Fiascos: What to do When Your Parents Need Help.

Like many other businesses, my work picks up around the holiday season.

Unlike most businesses, this increased workload has nothing to do with people buying holiday presents.

The typical phone call I get goes something like this:

 

“I visited my parents over the holiday, and…

 

… their health is much worse than I thought.”

 

…they aren’t keeping up with the house maintenance.“

 

…there was almost no food in the fridge.”

 

…it is clear my mom’s memory is not as good as it used to be.”

 

…I rode in the car with my dad driving and it was terrifying.”

 

These comments reflect a new reality for these adult children: their once vibrant parents are changing.  And the need to to deal with these changes can lead to a lot of stress.

This stress is exacerbated if the children live some distance from their parents.

 

They know their ability to address the changes is limited by the amount of time they will be with their parents, their knowledge of the local resources, and their parents’ willingness to accept assistance.

 

Sound familiar?

 

If so, here are some tips to help you navigate the situation:

 

  • Find out how receptive your parents are to help. You may have parents who think nothing is wrong and refuse assistance, or you may be surprised to find out that they know they need help and want it.

 

  • Do not try to do everything while you are visiting. We make bad decisions when we are under the stress of time crunch. Plus, many offices will be closed due to the holiday season.

 

  • Enlist help. This help is essential for adult children who live away from their parents, but equally important for those who live with or near their parents. Having a professional keeping track of your parents on a day-to-day basis, someone who knows the local available resources, will save hours of time and worry.  Plus, it will help you and your parents make the best care decisions.

 

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