Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Signs your Aging Parent May Need Help

As you prepare to visit your aging parents this Christmas season, be alert to changes in their ability to care for themselves. If possible, plan to stay for more than a meal. We’ll stay two days with my mom, keeping our eyes open for household tasks that need attention and assessing her ability to manage.

A blogger identified as Lady offers five signs that your aging parents may need help, with links to several excellent Mayo Clinic articles. As you visit your parents during the holiday season, keep these in mind.

Then, if you haven’t done so already, you need to begin talking to your parents about their plans and their needs. If you see them regularly, this might not be the week to bring up sensitive topics. But if this is your only annual trek, you need to begin the discussion. Even if it’s only an introduction. I also find it’s important to visit at least once a month if at all possible. By being there regularly, I can see the changes before they get too serious.

Kara McGuire of the Minneapolis St. Paul offers several strategies for opening the conversation with your parents.

We were fortunate that my parents and I began talking early and have continued the conversation over the years. Now it’s as common as talking about other family things. And they’ve learned to trust my judgment—at least most of the time. That wasn’t the case with my husband’s parents. They were quite unwilling to discuss end-of-life issues, and although we did get them to create a living trust, there were a lot of decisions left to us when they passed away.

So take this opportunity, if you haven’t already, to pay attention to your parent’s age-related issues. You may be surprised.

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1 comment(s):

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