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Use the Holidays to Check on Aging Loved Ones

ageing loved onesGive the gift of caring

Gathering family and friends together during the holiday season can be a joy. But it can also serve a purpose.

It’s a chance to check on the well-being of your older family members. You might offer to drive them to holiday get-togethers — or arrange to bring a meal and catch up. Then you can see how they’re coping on their own — and find ways to help if needed.  

9 kind questions to think about

Here are some questions to help you spot concerns with your loved ones’ health, lifestyle and home:

  • Does their home have any safety hazards?
  • Is housekeeping help needed?
  • How about help with their yard, snow removal or house repairs?
  • Are there any signs of poor health?
  • Are they unsteady on their feet?
  • How is their mental health? Do they seem confused? Depressed?
  • Are they spending time with people — or do they seem isolated? As you chat, weave in questions about friends and social outings.
  • Are they well-groomed and wearing clean clothes?
  • Are they eating well and shopping for groceries? You may want to offer to take them shopping or set up home-delivered meals. Ask about other transportation needs too.

Aging is a family affair

If what you notice is troubling, think about calling a family meeting. To avoid hurt feelings, do this before you make any decisions.

It's tough to watch aging loved ones struggle. You may feel torn between their desire to live on their own and yours to see them in a safer setting. You may wonder if you should push for a change. Discuss your concerns with aging family members — and encourage them to be part of the solution. Together, you can make plans and find local resources to help.

What to do next

To learn more about caregiving, visit — and click on the rotating spotlight (before you log in). Another good resource is

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