The holiday season is upon us. Hallmark is showing their Christmas movies. The Malls have decked their halls. High schools have planned their Class reunions and Homecoming Events - it is a magical time of year for everyone. We all get excited about going home again to visit our childhood homes. We look forward to visiting with our loved ones – parents, grandparents, etc. A lot of what happens at this time of year is not mentioned in a Holiday movie special, nor is it a verse in a Holiday song nor written in any Hallmark card – “Mom, I think this is the last Holiday we will be having in your home.”
The Holidays tend to be a catalyst for putting these postponed conversations on the fast track. It usually begins around Thanksgiving. Families are so excited about being together back at their parent’s home. They probably have not seen each other since last year. In between all of the food and homecoming celebrations you’ll notice out of the corner of your eye something is out of place about your Parent, but you brush it off – its probably just the wine. A day or two after that wonderful homecoming, you’ll check in with one of your siblings and begin to compare notes about things you noticed in your parent - “I noticed that Mom hasn’t dusted in a while, she used to keep this place spotless”, “I watched Mom use the stairs and it made me nervous”, “Dad really had a lot of dirty laundry”, “I don’t think Dad has had his house cleaned in months”. These signs on their own are insignificant but when pieced together they deliver a very clear picture- yet again, we will ignore it. We tell ourselves – Mom is fine, we are just jumping to conclusions.
The next opportunity for families to get together is at Christmas time. Once all of the adult children have had a chance to digest their holiday experiences while visiting with their aged parent, it tends to lead to a group consensus – we have to talk to Mom/Dad about making some changes. Then usually by New Years, the family will come together again to have that difficult conversation with their parent about their future living situation.
This is NOT a tale- this is all very real based on our experiences. Its something that is never talked about. You will not see any of this in a Hallmark Christmas movie but this is what really happens over the holidays. As you visit with your family this holiday season, we hope that you will think back to this Blog. Don’t worry, our website is here to help you. Our website offers tools and resources to help guide you through The Talk and How to begin the process. Visit www.AgingParentsManagement.com at any time along the way for help on the journey with your aging parents.