If you are going to see older family or friends this holiday, it is a great time to make sure all is well. Of course you want to spend time and visits and that is perfect chance to do this. You just need to put on your thinking cap, take a look around and get chatty.  You will learn a lot. AARP even has offers some advice.

As a person with a very independent Mom in her 80’s I will tell you, first of all, don’t be pushy or a know it all.  Most of our older family members don’t think of themselves as older and in my family, they don’t like asking for help. If you come as them with an agenda, odds are you are going to be shut down, no matter how much you are trying to help. TRUST ME ON THIS!

Now, take a look around and watch. Are they having trouble getting things done? Are there certain door knobs or sink handles that are issues? Those are easy adjustments. Are stairs an issue? Sometimes a bit of creative rearranging on how you use rooms in home can help.

How is their driving? I think my mom has become a better driver as she had gotten older! But that is not the case for everyone.  And the thought of giving up that independence can be a hot button issue. How are they feeling? What sort of medications are they taking and what problems might they be having?   Do they get out and about or are they home alone all the time? Remember this is not an interrogation, it is caring. You are just finding out about their lives and how things are going.

If there are things that worry you, talk to other family members. My biggest support for issues about aging has been Spectrum Generation. They are AMAZING!  They have support and information and can point you in the right direction on many issues.

Lastly, when you are with older family members, listen to the stories. I just found out my uncle worked on part of the system for the lunar landing module in the Apollo program.  If someone had not asked a question, and I was listening, I never would have learned that little bit of info. I wish I had known it earlier in my life, I could have asked him more about it when he was alive.