Are you heading home for the holidays? Nervous about what you’ll find has changed with mom and dad?
We hear that a lot. Sometimes it’s difficult noticing a change in your parent’s’ behavior when you’re with them every day. But if you live too far away to visit more than once or twice per year, the differences can be striking.
How should you assess the changes? What should you do with the results? And where do you go from here?
Luckily, we have the answers. We talk with people in your shoes every year, and help them through this life-changing transition.
What should you do? As you spend time together this holiday season, use this checklist to assess your loved one:
- How clean are the bathrooms and kitchen? Are there spills that have not been cleaned up?
- Have they resorted to the pile method with simple things? Is the mail stacking up on the desk? Newspapers stacked by the side of a chair?
- Trash stacked behind the house?
- Is the yard in poor maintenance? Is landscaping dead? Are the gutters clogged?
- Does their pantry and refrigerator indicate they make healthy choices? Are there out of date items in the refrigerator?
- How well do they communicate with every member of the family? Are there signs they stay active with neighbors and friends?
- Do you feel unsafe when riding in the car with your loved one driving?
- Is the car damaged? Are there signs they’ve had recent traffic accidents?
- Do you see signs of poor hygiene?
- Have they kept up with the laundry? Is it in piles? Are there signs of stains?
- Is there any indication of alcohol abuse? This may be a sign of depression.
- Have they gained or lost significant weight?
- Are they taking medications as prescribed?
- Do you notice forgetfulness?
- Do you notice unstable mood swings?
- Are they isolating themselves from regular activities, family or friends?
- Can they remember short stories you tell?
- Do they repeat things over and over again?
If you’ve checked any of the boxes above, it may indicate the need for a more thorough assessment. Talk with your parents, or if that’s not possible, refer to a nearby family member or friend. Getting them in for assessment early on can help get them the care they need, helping improve their lives from this moment on.