Assisted Living: Visiting your Elderly Parents this Christmas

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When families make the difficult decision to move their elderly parents into an assisted living facility, holidays can be a little tricky. This is especially true when life gets so busy this time of year and everything seems to get in the way of being able to make the time to visit consistently.

The best present you can give your parents in assisted living is the gift of being present. After all, no matter how much assistance they may have from the facility's staff, there is nothing staff can do that compares to the joy your parents get when they see their children and family members. The fact that they are your parents aside, there are many reasons why you should make the time, no matter what happens, to visit your elderly parents in their assisted living facility this holiday season.

  1. It's an opportunity to get to know them again, this time at their most vulnerable. Making the time to consistently visit them, not just this holiday season but year-round, will enable you to learn more about their day-to-day activities, what they like to do, eat, talk about and watch on television. It will give you a chance to learn what their routine is, and maybe even help them with that routine when they need the help.
  2. It gives you a chance to see how they have changed since the last time you saw them. Are they having a hard time hearing the television or reading the paper? Are they having a hard time remembering everyday things? Regularly visiting your parents will enable you to notice these changes much earlier, and determine whether or not these are serious enough to be looked at by a doctor. If you have siblings, it may be a good idea for them to also stop by and observe, so that you can compare notes and see if you all notice the same things.
  3. It will give you the opportunity to help your parents remain social. When parents move to assisted living, sometimes they struggle with remaining social as they adjust to new surroundings. When you visit regularly, you give them an important social outlet that they need, and it encourages them to socialize further on their own. Regular visits keep them engaged and will give them something to look forward to this holiday season. 

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