What to Watch for this Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for families to spend together, especially for those who do not often have the chance to visit with their elderly parents.  For this reason, the holidays can be a good time to observe whether a loved one has recently become more forgetful or repetitive. When we only see our parents once or twice a year, it is easier to notice such changes; once we do, we can start taking small steps towards ensuring that they are safe, such as hiring a geriatric care manager, using technology to communicate with them more often, and monitoring their finances electronically.

First, make sure that you work with your parents to implement any necessary changes. If your loved one perceives that you are trying to take control of his or her life, he or she will not be cooperative.  Even if you are alarmed, don’t over-react.  Embrace working together to allow your loved one to maintain control while achieving mutual goals for safety and maximum independence.

Oftentimes, children can tell that something is wrong, but they do not know how severe the problem is.  Our law firm recommends hiring a Geriatric Care Manager to complete an assessment of your parent’s living arrangement to make recommendations for keeping mom or dad safely at home. This professional can suggest changes like installing handrails in the bathroom, widening the doors, and other inexpensive adjustments; these updates will be meaningful in preventing falls as your loved one becomes frail with age.

Using technology is another way to ensure that your parent remains safe. If your loved one is amenable to using Skype or another similar application, the two of you can begin gradually communicating more often face to face.  If not, telephone calls work, too.  This will allow you to do things like prompt your parent to take their medications, as well as assess their daily appearance.  Finally, if your parents bank online and you have access to their usernames and passwords, be sure to look over their statements periodically to make sure that their regular bills are being timely paid and that they are not being scammed. By gaining access to their financial information, you can also pay their bills for them when the time comes.

If you notice changes in your loved ones this holiday season and think that they may need assistance, make sure their legal documents are reviewed right away and be sure to contact an experienced Elder Law attorney to see what we can do to help. Contact W.G. Alexander & Associates today for more information!

Attorney Bill Alexander discusses these issues and more every Tuesday morning on W.G. Alexander & Associates’ radio program, “Asset Protection Today,” on TalkRadio 850 WPTK (AM). Be sure to listen tomorrow  from 9:00-10:00 AM.  To listen to last week’s show, please visit WPTF’s on demand show blog by clicking here.