Taking the Time for a Little Visit

Originally posted at www.allaboutestates.ca on December 8, 2014

I spent the weekend visiting with my mother. Catching up with her also includes hearing about her friends and what is new in their lives. The update I heard about many of them was very similar. Their health was failing and their children/grandchildren were not visiting (enough). While I originally didn’t think the two points were connected and were distinct comments, I now understand how they are in fact related. Simply stated, a positive state of mind can influence how we feel. Feeling loved and having friends and family take the time to visit or call, make us feel good. When we feel good, we often feel better too. December is a busy month and I hope this holiday season includes more people visiting with friends and family.

I have reprinted a blog about visiting family and friends over the holidays as the message is timeless.

It is getting to be that time again and holidays are around the corner. Do your parents live in another city than you? For many the holiday period is a time when families are spending extended periods of togetherness, which can be both wonderful and challenging. If this is the case, this provides a wonderful opportunity to see how they are managing.

It is hard for many of us as adult children to watch our parent’s health deteriorate. It is hard to see that their current health no longer allows them to remember the names of their grandchildren, or family recipes that they can no longer follow. Be aware of the small things and things that are different. For example, is Mom now finishing Dad’s sentences because she always has or is he now not able to complete the sentence himself?
Here are a few suggestions.
• Don’t interrogate, use your observation and gentle questioning to determine how they are managing,
• Take a drive with them,
• Offer to make a meal with them or take them out for a meal, social awareness or lack thereof may be an indication of a change,
• Start a conversation about the ‘what if’s’-
• Find out what plans they have made should their health suddenly change,
• Do they have a power of attorney in place,
• Is there a list of emergency contact names and numbers on an easy to find location, should there be a need? (I personally like to place the emergency contact list on the refrigerator).

Part of this journey is acknowledging that your parents may need your assistance but are reluctant to show you or tell you that they need help. Pride and embarrassment can sometimes get in the way. To be sensitive to a parent’s needs, we have to get past our own denial about their health changes. A little visit, by phone or in person can really make someone feel better.

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