What are usually joyous celebrations of the special people in our lives — Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries — can easily become troubling touchstones when a senior loved one’s health is not what it used to be.
A visit with your father over the holiday weekend may have raised concerns about his well-being. Upon returning home, you may have switched on the computer to begin researching home care or assisted living options, or you may have tossed and turned, turning over your worries and trying to make sense of what you observed.
First things first: don’t jump to conclusions, and don’t make a rash decision. Take some time to sort through what you witnessed, then talk to Dad about it (get tips for talking about this sensitive subject here) before signing him up for home care or a senior living community. An untidy house may not be as serious a concern as an empty refrigerator and cupboards; a stack of unsorted paperwork on the desk may not constitute a legitimate worry, but a stack of unpaid bills and collection notices should.
Talk to your Dad’s closest friends and neighbors, the people who interact with him regularly if you live out of town. Get a sense of how he’s really managing on a day-to-day basis, rather than your one-day or weekend-long visit observation.