Many of us find ourselves overwhelmed with commitments during the holidays, dinner with the in-laws, the children’s Christmas play, and the neighbor’s holiday party, but don’t let the busyness of the season keep you from making time for elderly friends and relatives.
Holiday visits offer the perfect opportunity to make sure grandma is safe living on her own and to see what changes you can make to ensure she stays comfortable and independent. A recent AARP article suggests focusing on four key areas when checking up on elderly relatives during the holidays including their living situation, ability to drive, health, and finances.
The article advises looking around their home to “see if it meets their needs as they age.” You may find that there are simple changes you can help make in order to make the home more livable for a longer time, like adding handgrips to the shower or installing pullout cabinets in the kitchen.
You’ll also want to assess their driving abilities. Have you noticed scrapes or dents on the car? Do they seem capable behind the wheel? If not, the article suggests looking into “alternative transportation options that exist for shopping, medical visits, religious services and visits with family and friends.”
Ask your relative about any current health problems they may have and about prescriptions they’re taking. Make sure their prescriptions are recent and that they’re receiving the full healthcare assistance they’re entitled to. Offer to look into any questions they may have about possible changes to Medicaid and Medicare.
A touchy subject, but one worth looking into, is the state of your elderly relative’s finances. Take note of whether you see bills piling up or any late notices. Ask where they keep their financial information, in case you should need to access it in an emergency.
Now that you’ve made sure your elderly relative is safe and comfortable at home, how can you help make their holiday season bright? An article by the Daily Iowegian shares meaningful gift ideas from the Seneca Area Agency on Aging to give to elderly and disabled. Some of those ideas include:
• Give them a “coupon” redeemable for you to run errands with or for them a few times a month.
• Offer to rake leaves, shovel snow, or mow the lawn on a regular basis throughout the year.
• Create a calendar with family birthdays clearly marked.
• Cook extra meals and place in individual freezable containers.
• Be a friend: call, write, email and visit on a regular basis.
We hope these tips can be helpful to you and wish you and those you care for happy holidays!
To view the Daily Iowegian article and the full list of gift ideas, click here.
To view the full AARP article, click here.