Whether the snow is falling or you’re enjoying a mild holiday season, there is one thing that holds true for many families. The holiday season brings about change among families. In many cases this is the time in which all the children come together to visit with Mom and Dad. A time filled with joy and laughter is also a time in which families discuss difficult topics.
So it’s your first time being back at Mom or Dad’s in quite some time. What changes have you noticed?
The list can go on, and on. Some may consider these to be normal aspects of aging, and others may be deeply concerned. However, whether you or a loved one feels the changes are normal or not, what is the big picture overall?
The holidays are one of the few times of the year the entire family may get together. This is especially important because each member of the family typically takes a keen eye into how Mom or Dad is doing. They may have visited months prior and speculated a bit, but when the entire family comes together a clearer picture is painted.
So what is the clear picture?
Well that must take into account all of the changes noticed within individual visits, as well as the current holiday visit with all family members. Visit after visit there may have been minute changes, changes that could have been brushed off. However, if one were to create a timeline of those changes, what would it really look like?
So you’ve noticed a number of changes, you’ve discussed it with siblings and various loved ones, now what?
This comes as the most challenging part of the holiday season. Many cannot find the words to discuss such concerning topics with Mom and Dad. Let’s face it, it’s a big change being the ones caring for them after they have done so for so long.
Let’s paint a picture. Typically two scenarios play out in this situation.
“Let’s see what happens when this time next year comes around”. The real discussion with Mom and Dad is put on hold. What happens next is far too common…
In this situation, yes Mom and Dad are fine for a number of months after the holidays. However, more often than not, this is also the point in which a crisis occurs and the adult children are called on to make some serious decisions. The talk that could have happened months ago just became much more stressful. Mom and Dad are in dire need of help, and you are attempting to get a hold of your siblings for guidance.
Or the talk can be discussed during the holiday season. The outcome may not be the most pleasant, as Mom and Dad may have their doubts about the changes that have been noticed. However, this simple discussion will most definitely begin the wheel within their own minds. They may not be ready to make a drastic change within the weeks to come but they may key in on their driving, walking, hygiene, etc. All of the changes that were noticed prior, they may take personal inventory to make a change for the better.
We all want the same for Mom and Dad, health and happiness in the years ahead. The holidays bring about change more frequently than any other time. Throughout the year we will continue to worry, but if we can keep and open discussion about their health and well-being going forward we can be confident they will be on the right path.