I am catching myself
today sort of in a frenzy, realizing that the holidays are quickly
approaching, and that I still have a to do list that doesn't seem
to be getting shorter. My wife and I have both commented that
we are sensing the craziness of the holidays - the amped up-ness,
the traffic, and the anxious, and irritable moods of our friends,
co-workers, and even complete strangers.
We're trying to keep
things in perspective, and not feed into it too much - especially,
since our time to get stuff done is being cut short this year.
We are preparing to leave for two weeks to go visit my wife's
Traveling, and being
away from home for such a long time can be stressful in and
of itself. Doing it during the holiday season adds another degree
of complication to the matter.
My wife and I are lucky,
though - we like our parents! We just got back from seeing my
parents at Thanksgiving. We decided to make it a road trip,
instead of flying. The drive was wonderful - a time to relax,
space-out, and reflect - much needed for two busy people like
My parents are doing
great, they still live at home in a beautiful area of the Southwest.
They are both in their 70's, and remain very active an engaged.
Health-wise, I don't think they could be doing better - they
look great, they are sharp, and they are in very good financial
It was good to check
in on them, and it is always great to find out that all is well
My wife's mom - that's
a bit of a different story. I've mentioned in another article
on the site here that she has had some
health issues recently. I haven't seen her in about 6 months,
but in that time, her health has had some extreme ups and downs
- fortunately, at the moment, it seems as if we are on an upswing.
Since we live over 1000
miles away from her, it isn't easy to check in on her in person
- she lives alone in a house that she's had for over 50 years
now, and although she has some good neighbors, they aren't in
the habit of checking in on her as we would probably like, but
then again, she really is independent, and I doubt that she
has even told them about her health issues.
The only way we can
get an idea of how she is doing is by her own word - and she
can be stoic and tightlipped about things. She doesn't like
to discuss her issues, and she doesn't like to propagate bad
So we are looking forward
to the holiday with her in a different way than usual. Of course,
we will celebrate the holiday, probably eat far too much - and
catch up with what is going on in her life, her church, and
with her job (yes, she still works - even at 80 years old! A
senior by age, but more of a kid a heart!)
However, we will use
the holiday to assess how she is really doing with her health,
and managing her household. Hearing from someone is one thing,
but seeing them in person tells a whole different story. This
holiday trip will offer a good chance for us to make our own
I think this explains
why our site sees such a spike in traffic in the few weeks right
after the holidays - usually in late December and January -
people are doing the same thing we are - checking in on mom
and dad during their holiday visit.
We see a huge increase
in searches for "assisted living" and "assisted
living facilities" during this time. Obviously, many families
at the holidays determine that mom or dad may need to consider
alternative living arrangements such as assisted living or long
We hope this isn't the
case this year for us, but at some point, it may happen - and
I think we are all aware of that.
We encourage all people
visiting mom or dad over the holidays to use the time as an
opportunity to check in on mom and dad. If they are having trouble
remembering things, or if their house is unkempt, or if they
seem depressed, or look different (weight gain, or weight loss)
- it may be a sign of a developing health issue. It also may
be a strong nudge that mom or dad could benefit from an assisted
living environment, to help manage the tasks of daily living,
and to have someone monitor their health daily.
Checking in on mom and
or dad shouldn't be weird, or a chore - and you can bet that
they are most certainly going to check in on how you are doing!
After all, you are still their child....no matter what age you
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