Holiday tips: When your parents have changed


December 8, 2017

Sometimes going home for the holidays is bittersweet, especially for adult children traveling long distances to see their parents.

A senior’s health and appearance can change dramatically in just a few months. If you haven’t been able to visit older parents since summer, for example, it might surprise you to see how much they have aged.

Some changes – maybe they have a few extra pounds, are a little less spry, or have some minor forgetfulness, for example – are to be expected. That’s just aging.

If your parents have changed in a way that has you concerned for their welfare, it’s time to have a serious discussion about their care.

What to Look For:

  • An increase in mobility issues
  • Obvious weight gain or loss
  • Messy house, or a home with critically needed repairs
  • Very little food in the house, or food that has gone bad
  • Signs of hoarding behavior
  • Piles of unopened mail and bills
  • Frequent confusion/memory loss
  • Changes in financial behavior – late bills, overspending, etc.
  • Noticeable changes in mood and personality
  • Medications not being filled or not been taken correctly

Share your concerns – Talk about what you have noticed with siblings and caregivers. Get different perspectives from the people who see your parents more often – even every day.

Questions to ask:

  • Has this been a sudden or a more gradual change?
  • How have these changes affected their physical health?
  • Are they in danger of accidents, fires, falls or other injuries in the home?
  • Is their doctor aware of these changes? What have their healthcare providers said about these changes?
  • Are they still driving? Is it safe for them to drive?
  • What needs to be done next? Home care services? Increased care visits? 24-hour care?

At Belvedere, we work with families and a patient’s healthcare team to ensure that everyone is on the same page about the patient’s condition, issues and changes. We know it can be extremely difficult for children who live long distances from their parents to see how they have aged during the holidays and worry about them year round.

If you have concerns about your parents’ health and safety in their home, call Belvedere for a consultation. We can do an objective assessment of their well being and living conditions and help create a care plan that works for everybody.

Learn more about who is a good candidate for home health care: