Fourth of July Checklist: Visiting Your Aging Parents

It’s the 4th of July, you are spending the weekend at Mom’s house, and you know she’s been having a hard time living alone…but she’d never admit it.

You’re not alone. In fact, more than 90% of aging Americans have not even discussed long-term care issues with their loved ones even though most people people 65+ will need some form of long-term care in their lifetime.

Don’t wait until mom or dad has an accident. Use this Fourth of July holiday to check in on your loved one’s well-being.

Oftentimes there are telltale signs of something “not right” in the home that you can address quickly before things spiral out of control. Remember to be subtle. Don’t make them feel like you are checking up on them. Trust your instincts, and use some of these openings to start a conversation.

    1. As you arrive at their house: Check the condition of the exterior.
      • Look at the paint, trim, lawn, windows, doors. Are there any signs of needed maintenance or repair?
    1. When greeting your loved one: Look for changes in their movement and physical appearance.
        • Movement: Are they walking upright or more stooped? Has the pace of their movements changed significantly? How do they handle themselves on stairs?
        • Hygiene: Is Dad usually clean-shaven and now has significant stubble?  Has Mom’s hair always been immaculate and now looks unkept? Do they have any unusual body odor?
        • Looks: Is there a change in their clothing? Look for things like wrinkled pants, spots on shirts, missing buttons or mismatched colors.
      • Conversation: Are they using hearing aids or reading glasses when they need to?  Are they constantly asking you to repeat yourself, or giving inappropriate answers to your questions?
    1. Around the house: Notice any changes beyond general wear-and-tear in the living room, kitchen and bedrooms. Check the floors and stairs for any safety hazards, like that rumpled throw rug that may be putting your loved one at risk of falling.
        • Tidiness: Is there a significant change in the way things are organized around the house?  Is the recliner closer to the tv?  Are the floors and steps free of clutter?
        • Lighting: Are stairs well lit and carpet coverings tight and wood slip-free?
        • Habits: Are they still cooking and cleaning as they used to, or have their eating and cleaning habits changed? Are things in the kitchen organized so that they can be easily found?  Check the cabinets and refrigerator for expired spices, mixes, cereals or canned food.
  1. In the bathroom and bedrooms: Personal hygiene, medication management and sleeping habits can be the first indicators that it might be time for long-term care.
    • Health: Check for signs of new health conditions by looking in the bedroom or medicine cabinet. Are there more over-the-counter or prescription drugs than you have noticed in the past?  Are any of their medications out-dated or expired? If there are expired meds, find out why…does that mean that a prescription was not consumed?
    • Medication Management: Watch how they take their medications. Do they have a system to organize and keep track of their daily meds to protect against over or under medication? Is it easy to distinguish whose pills are whose?  Do they keep track of dosages?
    • Safety: Are mats in place to prevent slipping in the bathtub? Are railings and handles secure and in-place? Look for signs of fire, appliances left plugged in and entrances left open.

If the answers to any of the questions above raise red flags for you or your family, maybe it is time to talk about long-term care options with your loved one. Regular conversations concerning your loved one’s future can help mitigate the shock of a rapid transition, as it often takes elderly parents a while to get used to the idea of moving to supportive or assisted living.

If you want to explore communities near you and/or get an idea of cost, click here to start your search today.

Want to learn more? Sign up below to get exclusive tips on the senior living search process!

1 thought on “Fourth of July Checklist: Visiting Your Aging Parents

  1. Great post. I feel like so many wait to visit loved ones and really miss out on precious time they could have with them. I bought a new home in Pingree Grove by D.R. Horton just so I could be close to my Nana, she raised me and is worth spending time with. thanks for the great post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.