The holidays are a time when many family members get together to celebrate. For some families this may be the only time they see each other all year. Occasionally, during that visit, the visiting children will be surprised by what they find. Their parent’s situation was not exactly as they had been describing it on the phone.
There are at least three main reasons that an aging parent may not disclose all the realities of their situation. One of those is that they do not want you to worry about them because you have your own life to worry about. The second is that they do not want to lose their independence. They are afraid that if you find out that you will try to take their independence away. Finally, they just may not realize the situation they are in due to cognitive impairment.
So, what do you do if you show up at the holidays and find some of the following?
- Little and or spoiled food in the refrigerator
- Several new dents in the car
- The home is unusually messy
- They seem to have poor hygiene
- They seem unsteady when walking
- They seem unusually forgetful
The best way to begin to address things is to talk about them as they come up. Don’t save it up for one BIG talk about everything you have seen that concerns you. Mentioning that you noticed there was not much food in the house and then asking how you can help is a better way to approach the issue than, declaring that you are going to go get some groceries because the refrigerator is empty.
If the direct approach does not seem like something that you or your siblings can do, you could try mentioning your concern to their doctor or to a close friend. There are many supports that you can use to help your parent stay safely in their home up to a certain point. If you would like help evaluating where things are at, please give Choice Connections a call. We can direct you to resources and help you understand when assisted living might be the right option.