Family having holiday dinner together

Visiting parents for the holidays?

Know they are healthy & safe with these 10 questions

When there are months between family visits, changes in your parents’ health can seem dramatic or alarming. Yet, with the right care and support, many elders can live safely in their homes.

While you enjoy your parents’ company during the holidays, take a few moments to reflect on how their needs are changing.

Here are 10 questions to assess your parents’ health and safety:

  1. Are they getting out and seeing friends and other relatives?
  2. Are they still attending religious services, senior centers, or regular events?
  3. Do they keep up with housekeeping and chores?
  4. Do they get dressed in the morning, bathe regularly, and stay clean?
  5. Are they able to get to the store to go shopping?
  6. Is there food in the house? Is it healthy food?
  7. Are bills getting paid?
  8. Is mail being opened, especially from Medicare, insurers, and banks?
  9. Are they going to doctor appointments, or canceling, or not showing up?
  10. Are they taking medications on schedule, as directed?

If your parents are falling behind in these daily routines, you can help during your visit. You can also tap into community resources to help after you leave.

You have a friend in aging services

There are many social services, non-profits and government programs that help seniors in Alameda and Contra Costa County. You could spend hours on the internet trying to figure it all out. Aging Services has made it easy for you at DayBreak, a non-profit organization that helps family caregivers find what’s available in the East Bay.

DayBreak is like having a best friend who works in aging services.

The “DayBreakers” know who’s who and will introduce you to the right person.

Call DayBreak at (510) 834-8314. Learn more at

Friends and neighbors are also resources

Your parents’ neighbors, pastor, and friends can be a source of help and comfort. Often they are eager to help, if only they are asked. When you want someone to check in on your parents, or help with a ride to the doctor, you may find open and generous hearts.

During your visit, you and your parent can create a list of your parent’s friends and neighbors. If there is time, try to introduce yourself personally to these people. You are likely to find hidden resources that can help you and your parent.

Caregiver, put on your own oxygen mask

Coordinating your parents’ care when you live out of town is stressful. Be gentle with yourself. It’s not possible for one person to provide all the help a parent needs. You are already taking care of your own family, your job, and your house; now you have taken on a new role. Pat yourself on the back for all your efforts, and take joy in your visit.

Your parent can live safely at home

For 35 years, the Center for Elders’ Independence has helped seniors live safely in their own homes. People who might have previously been admitted to a nursing home can instead stay in their own home with plenty of help and healthcare.

If your parent is juggling several medical conditions or has been recently discharged from the hospital, talk to us. You can reach our enrollment professionals toll-free at (844) 319-1150.

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