The Impact of Holiday Visits on Parents' Well-being

The holidays are almost here! For many adult children who don’t live nearby their aging parents or perhaps don’t get the chance to visit often, this can be a wonderful time to catch up and enjoy cherished family traditions with mom or dad; however, it can also provide an opportunity to assess how they’re doing in terms of their physical, mental and emotional health.

So when you visit mom or dad, what signs should you look out for that may suggest they need more daily assistance to live well? Caregiving professionals often use two tools to determine if an individual needs more help, and they may prove a useful guide for you if you are concerned about a loved one’s wellbeing.

The Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) represent crucial life tasks that we do every day to lead a fully independent life at home. If a parent is having difficulty with one or several of these points, it may mean that it’s time to talk about more support, according to Dr. Leslie Kernisan, a geriatrician who writes about health matters for seniors and caregivers.

The following are some questions to consider that incorporate ADLs:

  • Mobility

    Can your parent navigate their home—with or without assistive devices—and maintain their balance with relative ease?

  • Nutrition

    Is your parent eating a balanced diet? Can your parent cook for themself with relative ease? Do they grocery shop regularly, or are they more likely to order in?

  • Personal hygiene

    Does your parent appear to be maintaining the appearance they’ve always kept up?

  • Household upkeep

    Do basic household tasks like cleaning and laundry cause your parent stress? Are they increasingly having to depend on outside services or friends and family for things like lawn care, snow shovelling and general household maintenance?

IADLs to assess include:

  • Managing finances

    Is your parent paying bills on time and managing financial assets?

  • Managing transportation

    Is your parent driving safely or organizing other means of getting around?

  • Managing communication

    Is your parent managing mail and answering phone calls?

  • Managing medication

    Can your parent obtain the medications with ease and take them as directed?

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