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The holidays are often called the most wonderful time of the year, especially for aging parents. For many families who live far apart, they are also a time when adult children and grandchildren travel to visit aging parents. Even if you are in regular contact by phone and email, it can be tough to recognize signs of aging that require further attention until you are with your loved ones in person. Do you know what to look for during holiday visits to aging parents?

Let us talk about some of the signs that it may be time to look into getting your aging parent some day to day assistance, or to begin exploring options for long-term care.

The first thing to look for in your aging parents is forgetfulness. Forgetfulness is often one of the first signs to watch for. It is normal for memory to change over time. If your parents, however, are forgetting routine and long-term information, such as their street address or how to get to the grocery store, this could be a sign of the onset of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

Decrease in socialization can also be a red flag in aging parents. If your normally active, social parent is spending a lot less time out of the house, this may be cause for concern, especially if he or she is now living alone after being widowed and is not getting social interaction without a spouse in the house. You can help by looking into local activities at a senior center, house of worship, or the library.

Driving issues are also things to watch for. Unfortunately, your parents probably taught you to drive, and you may be the person who has to take away their keys. If vision and spatial issues become too much and impair their ability to drive safely, it is probably time to sit down and talk to your parents about alternatives.

Additionally, be mindful of cleanliness. If your parents’ home has unexpected piles of junk mail and newspapers suddenly stacking up in the corners, it may be time to talk about getting them some help to organize and discard.  If there is a true cleanliness issue, however, with food not being disposed of properly or mold accumulation, it can also be a sign of dementia.

Our office remains committed to serving the elderly and their loved ones. For legal help and support concerning elder law issues, please reach out to us to schedule an appointment.