The holidays have passed, and many of us will have been with our parents for extended periods of time. Some things may make you wonder if your parents should continue to live on their own, even if they say they’re “doing just fine.” Still, you can’t help but recognize that they are in need of some extra help. Are you overly concerned? Probably not. When it comes to those we love, our instincts are usually good. Typically, the next step is to begin the conversation with your parents about your concerns. Ask whether they believe they could use a little extra help. It’s always best to have this chat when you’re not in the moment of the holiday festivities. These types of serious, yet caring talks with loved ones are much more productive when they happen outside of the event that brought your concerns to surface. Here are a few ways you can begin to assess your parents’ ability to function day to day. Is your parents’ house cluttered? Can they perform daily tasks, including using the telephone? How is their health? Are they taking their medications on time and in the prescribed dosage? Can they move about freely? Have they lost weight because they forgot to eat or are unable to prepare their own meals? Is the refrigerator empty? Are they shopping regularly and how are they getting to the store? Do your parents avoid showering or bathing? Are there other signs of poor hygiene? Do they sleep in their daytime clothes or wear the same outfit for days? What’s the state of the kitchen? Are pans burned because they were left on a burner too long? Are there containers of food past their expiration date in the cupboard or spoiled food in the refrigerator? Are there piles of dirty dishes in and out of the sink? How are they emotionally? Happy, anxious, listless, depressed, overwhelmed, lonely or unresponsive? Can they manage life’s ups and downs? Your parents may have already recognized and mentioned that household maintenance has become difficult. Have you encouraged them to discuss with you their level of difficulty with various tasks? Yes answers to these questions may not be reasons to be alarmed, but it may be time to talk with your parents about planning for their future. Start a discussion about options, including their desired lifestyle. Between their independence and your concern are several options, including help at home. Big transitions are easier to accept in small steps. Have a home health caregiver come in to provide assistance for your parents. A home care service such as Wesley Homes Home Health could be just the thing for keeping your parents comfortable in their home while they plan for where they want to be. Remember, their safety and happiness are the goals. If you have questions, call Wesley Homes Home Health at 206-870-1127 or contact us online, and we will be happy to answer your questions or address your concerns.