Holiday gatherings provide children the opportunity to check in with aging parents. What should you be looking for?
The holiday season brings families together and gives children the opportunity to assess the well-being of aging parents. What should children look for?
“The holidays are an ideal time to take an aging parental reality check,” Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, said in a statement. “Those who can’t regularly look in on aging family members should use seasonal visits to help aging parents maintain their independence as long as possible.”
The association recommends to following tips when visiting an older loved one:
· What is the home environment like? Are there piles of unopened mails? Unpaid Bills? Do you see any unsafe conditions?
· How does your aging parent or loved one look? Have they lost weight? Is there outdated or spoiled food in the refrigerator?
· Record important information: Write down helpful resources, such as plumbers or electricians. Make a list of needed medications and health-care professionals. Note the license plate number from you parent’s car.
Holiday visits enable children to sit down and talk to aging parents about their changing needs and preferences. “Difficult decisions are best started in face-to-face setting because they are seldom one-shot conversations,” Slome said. Among other questions, children can ask their parents if they’ve prepared advanced health directives.
“The number of people calling with questions about policy benefits increases by roughly 15 percent immediately following the holidays,” Bill Jones, president of the long-term care insurance provider MedAmerica, said in a statement. “Many older Americans eventually need some hands-on assistance and the holidays are often the time of year when families recognized that eventuality has arrived.”
Among other issues, seniors may need help finding a financial advisor they can trust and who can meet their specialized needs, according to a recent survey by two non-profit groups, the Investor Protection Trust and Investor Protection Institute. Three-fourths of survey participants, health care professionals and other experts on aging, described financial abuse of the elderly as a “very serious” problem and 65 percent said they had worked with elderly victims of financial fraud. The biggest threat comes from relatives (79 percent), caregivers (49 percent), and scams perpetrated by strangers (47 percent).