Thanksgiving Day gatherings are a tradition cherished by the entire family – young and old. It’s a time to catch up on family news, reminisce about old times and make plans for the future. For some, spending time with aging parents or family members may also present an opportunity to detect changes in their health, state of mind or their home environment. Spending the day, or several days, together may help you observe their home and lifestyle for subtle changes that could suggest additional assistance may be needed.
Here are 10 tips for making this holiday visit more productive.
- Do a home safety inspection. Make sure to test smoke alarms and check the house for loose wiring and improper lighting – especially in stairways and walkways.
- Take a look around the kitchen and arrange dishes and pans on convenient, easy-to-reach shelves.
- Assess the house for excess clutter, dust or other signs that assistance with housecleaning is needed.
- Check the refrigerator and pantry to ensure there’s enough food and other supplies – not just for the holiday visit but for several days.
- Install grab bars in the bathroom.
- Check the rooms for scatter rugs and uneven flooring that could cause a fall. Falls are one of the most dangerous problems for the elderly.
- Find out about local resources such as grocery delivery and transportation services that might be available in the community.
- Know where important papers, such as insurance cards and advance directives, are located.
- Get an updated medication list from their doctor or pharmacy.
- Identify one or two neighbors who would be willing to drop in occasionally. Exchange phone numbers and e-mail addresses and encourage them to contact you if they have concerns.
If you think your aging parent or family member may need assistance or support, such as help with personal care, medication reminders or light housekeeping, Kind Connections, a program of HomeCare, Inc. can help. The highly trained staff of Kind Connections are expert at helping elders remain safe and independent in their own home and community. Look for more information on available services on this website, or call 978-552-4186 for a brochure.