Traveling home for the holidays often brings great joy, as well as great stress.  And this year’s holiday season is shaping up to be a challenging one due to COVID-19.  Whether you are in quarantine, affected by travel restrictions, or simply thinking about keeping your parents safe – this year seeing your parents in person is going to be quite difficult. On the other hand, it’s times like these when they need and deserve our attention.

For many families, holiday visits are the only opportunity they get all year to see aging loved ones in person. For adult children who may not have seen their aging parents in months or perhaps a year due to living a long distance away, these visits provide an important opportunity to observe your parents’ physical and mental state to determine whether they’re thriving on their own or may require additional help. But it may be difficult to make an accurate diagnosis as most of us will be visiting virtually.

As you get older, you realize your parents do too. They might not be as involved as they used to be, or they get tired fast. Unfortunately, age-related decline can happen quickly, and, in many cases, older adults are determined to conceal or downplay any new or worsening problems they may be having. Even if it is a virtual visit, it’s important to pay close attention to their physical and mental health and their living situation.

You may notice some changes in your parents this holiday.  Ask yourself the following questions to assess whether your parents need help.

  • Do they keep up with housekeeping and chores?
  • Do they get dressed in the morning, bathe regularly, and stay clean?
  • Are they able to get to the store to go shopping?
  • Is there food in the house? Is it healthy food?
  • Have they lost weight?
  • Are they becoming more forgetful?
  • Are they keeping in touch with friends and other relatives?
  • Are there changes in balance and mobility?
  • Do they have fluctuations in their mood?
  • Are bills getting paid?
  • Is mail being opened, especially from Medicare, insurers, and banks?
  • Are they going to doctor appointments, or canceling, or not showing up?
  • Are they taking medications on schedule, as directed?

If you have concerns with your parents’ wellbeing, you can provide them the care they need without having to move them out of the comforts of their own home, allowing them to retain their independence.

Mystic Valley Elder Services provides many services that can help your parents with challenges as they age, such as meeting (telephonically or virtually) with an options counselor to discuss what programs, services, living arrangements and home adaptations might be right to meet identified needs along with specific services like behavioral and emotional health, home-delivered meals, money management and in-home care. The services are designed to keep the older adults as independent as possible while ensuring they have the necessary help whenever needed. Understanding the available care options along with expected costs will be extremely helpful in conversations you may decide to have with your parents.

To learn more about Mystic Valley Elder Services care options, please visit here or call 781-324-7705.

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