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How to tell if Mom and Dad need help

Grandparents at family dinner by Katina Rogers via Flickr
Photo by Katina Rogers via Flickr CC

Most of us will spend time with family this Thanksgiving. If the gathering includes an aging parent (or two), it's a good time to gauge how they're doing.

Now I'm not advocating a full diagnostic discussion. That's not only a bit intrusive, but such conversations probably will start fights if your family is anything like mine.

My 80-something mom simply refuses to acknowledge that she's 80-something and that entering her eighth decade presents some limitations. And by refuses to acknowledge, I mean she dives head-first into vehement and lengthy denials.

This is not the best way to spend a family-oriented holiday.

Look, don't ask: Things get even trickier when money is part of the conversation.

So I suggest instead that you use your observational powers as a caring son, daughter, niece, nephew or grandchild to evaluate how an elderly relative is doing and whether that relative needs help.

This week's tax tip, first published around this time last year, examines how we can take time at Thanksgiving to check on aging parents.

BOLO basics for older folks: Not to spoil the Weekly Tax Tip if you'll be clicking over to it for the first time, but easy things to be on the look out (BOLO) for include whether:

  • Mom, Dad or the Grands are having trouble focusing on things, both visually and in conversations;
  • They're neglecting personal hygiene; and
  • They don't seem interested in eating the Thanksgiving spread or any other meals.

Those are all indications that your loved one could need some extra attention and outside help.

I hope, however, that by using the hints in this week's more-than-tax tip you'll discover that things are great with your older family members, this Thanksgiving and for many, many holidays to come.

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