There are many adult children caring for or supporting elderly parents who are still living independently in their own homes. This can be especially stressful for the adult child if they have their own family to care for and/or their own career. In those situations, making the time to visit those elderly parents can become a fast ‘drive-by’, due to those other responsibilities.
This multi-tasking of care between all of the competing responsibilities can also be very emotional… often making one feel guilty for not giving the time and attention that each area requires.
And with aging parents, you want to be able to help them to be safe and healthy as they age in place. And many of the variables that contribute to their health and safety are not always apparent.
Because of that, we have developed the following checklist for you to use when you are visiting elderly parents. This checklist can help you to stay focused on their ability to continue to live independently.
Remember, that you are visiting your parents which means that you do not want to insult or berate them for behavior or conditions that don’t appear safe or healthy. Keep your ‘’inspection’ and this checklist to yourself, so that they don’t begin to feel that they are being ‘handled’ or ‘managed’. Try not to reverse roles with them as it may only cause needless tension.
Your main goal is to quietly observe and take notes. Once you understand the full picture, you can start an informed conversation about changes that might need to be made. And these observations and notes will help you to communicate more clearly and accurately when the time arrives to speak with a support/medical professional.
None of these checklist items alone warrant a ‘rescue’. But, when several of these conditions begin to appear, it might be time to have a serious discussion with a trusted medical professional to ensure that the elderly parent is not experiencing new medical and/or cognitive issues.
And at some point, these concerns will force a conversation with the elderly parents about seeking alternative housing. In many cases, this would not mean moving in with another family member. It would be preferable to consider an assisted living environment where trained personnel would be in close proximity to them.
When that day comes, don’t try to handle the process of relocating your parent(s) by yourself. Seek out a professional Senior Living Advisor for a free initial consultation. And in many cases, their relocation and placement services are ‘no cost’ to the family.