3 Important “To Do’s” While Visiting Aging Relatives at the Holidays

December 16th, 2015 No Comments

Home for Christmas Checking on Aging Parents Visiting Angels Mercer County, NJ

Holiday visits create opportunities to monitor changes in older parents

“I’ll be home for Christmas, you can count on me. Please have snow and mistletoe and presents under the tree.”

This popular tune is sure to remind us of the joy we find when returning home for the holidays. Whether you live across town or across the country, the holiday season is one in which many of us will spend surrounded by family. For those with aging parents, it’s a time you can really observe them in their “natural habitat.” Changes in your older parents’ appearance, behavior, or environment are warning signs that their health, mentality, and ability to function as usual are changing. If you notice any changes, it’s important to fully assess the situation and determine if intervention is needed. Visiting Angels suggests these important “to do” items during your holiday visit to monitor changes in your parents’ behavior and living environment.

1. Discreetly check on your parents.

Holiday visits are a great time to discreetly check on your parents, especially if they live alone.  Keeping a few notes each year you visit will help you to spot changes more easily in the future. Ask yourself the following questions when making observations:

  • Are there any changes in your parents’ hygiene and grooming habits?
  • Are they using furniture for support or balance while walking through the house?
  • Have there been changes in their weight?
  • Have they been eating properly and enough?
  • Have you noticed personality changes?

2. Spend a day making home safety repairs/updates.

During your visit, take a look at your loved one’s environment. Are there areas of disrepair? Take time to make a few simple safety updates, which can help your parents avoid common accidents so they can remain independent longer.


  • Check all smoke detectors in the house; replace any batteries
  • Check light bulbs; replace as needed
  • Increase lighting where
  • Check and fix loose handrails
  • Make a through assessment of the bathroom, where many accidents happen; add handrails or bath chair as necessary
  • Check to see if throw rugs are slippery, replace them with non-slip mats or remove altogether

3. Have conversations about the future.

Holidays are the most common occasions that all of the family comes together in one place. This is why they’re a good opportunity to have meaningful conversations. If you haven’t started talking with your parents about aging and planning for the future, consider bringing up the subject at the right moment.

Get the most out of visiting your senior parents this holiday season. It’s not only a good time to check in on them, but it’s an even better time to bond and create new memories.

If your aging loved ones are showing signs that affect their ability to live independently, Visiting Angels can help. Our Angels will come directly into clients’ homes throughout Mercer and Burlington counties in New Jersey. From companionship to personal care, housekeeping, hygiene and grooming assistance, we can help your older parents continue to live independently in their own home. Call us today at 609-883-8188.

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