Have you considered talking about the potential for your parents to need long-term care? It can be a tough conversation to have. No child wants to think about his or her parents getting older, and no parent wants to feel like they are being parented by an adult child. Still, it can be important for everyone to come together to have a conversation about your parents’ wishes and what you may be able to do to help them. The holiday season can be a good time to start talking about it. The following are seven tips for evaluating your parents’ potential long-term care needs before you begin.

1. Medical issues. Have your parents had any new medical problems lately? Might they need consistent medical attention to keep track of a current issue or keep an eye out for an issue that a physician thinks may be likely to develop?

2. Forgetfulness. While it can be normal for memory to change over time, if your parents are forgetting information about their daily routine, this could be a sign of the onset of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Even if the forgetfulness is just a sign of aging rather than severe enough to warrant an official diagnosis, if it extends to forgetting to take necessary medication, this can be a sign that they need long-term care assistance.

3. Organization. If your parents have always been tidy and you notice piles of papers suddenly stacking up by the walls and on the kitchen table, it may be time to talk about getting them some help to organize on a daily or weekly basis. 

4. Cleanliness. Unfortunately, if there may be a true cleanliness issue that goes beyond the inability to keep up with housekeeping, such as significant dirt, dust, or spoiled food, it might be a sign of dementia and require you to look into long-term care.

5. Widowhood. If one of your parents recently passed, leaving the other to live alone for the first time in many years, it can be important to check up on how he or she is feeling and whether he or she feels able to manage a household by himself or herself.

6. Decrease in socialization. If your normally active parent is spending a lot less time out of the house, this may be cause for concern. You can help by looking into local activities at a senior center, house of worship, or the library. If they do not feel able to initiate social interaction, finding a companion may be another option.

7. Driving Issues. Your parents probably taught you to drive. You may be the person who has to take away their keys. If vision and spatial issues become too much and impair your parents’ ability to drive safely, it may be time to sit down and talk to them about alternatives, like finding a driver or looking into other assistance.

If your parents may be ready to put long-term care plans in place, our office is available to assist with this and related legal issues. Please contact us to schedule a meeting time.