Thanksgiving Dinner

Happy Thanksgiving from Senior Living Options of the Desert

As time moves on and families mature, children begin to have children of their own. It becomes more difficult to get everyone together at the same time to discuss important family matters. Because of this, many adult children reserve the assisted living discussion for the holiday season. In fact, this is typically when we first begin to notice Mom or Dad’s behavior starting to change. If you are planning on approaching the topic of more comprehensive senior care over the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s important to understand how to do so sensitively and effectively. This article will explore the signs that it might be time to have the discussion and some appropriate ways to bring it up on Thanksgiving Day.

Signs It’s Time for Assisted Living

It’s understandable if you feel uncomfortable bringing up the topic of senior care over Thanksgiving dinner. But, then again, is there really ever a good time? The reality is, for many families, it could be the only time to do so. Many family members head to their in-laws for Christmas and to friends’ houses for the New Year. If you’re feeling guilty about celebrating Thanksgiving 2019 in this fashion, just keep in mind why you want to have the talk in the first place. You’re obviously concerned about some things and care about your loved one’s safety and well-being. Below are six signs you may have noticed that led you to your decision.

Escalating Care Needs

For a lot of families, there is no sudden warning sign that senior care is necessary. Rather, issues start appearing gradually. You find out that mom missed her doctor’s appointment without calling first to cancel, something she has never done before. Your dad failed to take his heart medication several days in a row. You may notice that your elderly parent has lost weight and that the fridge is almost empty. When each of these things occur, you may find yourself taking over small tasks, such as scheduling appointments, managing medications, grocery shopping, and cooking. Then, it may get to the point where the one or two chores you took over later turn into several. Or, you find yourself spending just as much time caring for your parent as you do for yourself or your children. These are signs it may be time to discuss assisted living.

Caregiver Stress

If you find that these escalating care needs are causing you to feel stressed or even resentful toward your parent, it may have gotten to the point where more comprehensive care is necessary. While it is natural to want to care for an elderly parent or loved one, it should not interfere with your emotional health, relationships or life.

Aggression and Sundowning

Aggressive behavior toward loved one’s and caregivers is one of the most common signs of dementia. Aggression is not healthy for anyone, and it may cause family members and caregivers to become angry or anxious. If this behavior becomes more frequent, professional care may be necessary. If your loved one’s aggressive behavior only occurs in the evening hours, he or she may have sundowner’s syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by agitated behavior that becomes more pronounced later in the day. Like aggression, it is common in individuals who live with dementia.


In some stages of dementia, a person’s risk of wandering increases. Wandering can be dangerous and increases your loved one’s risk of becoming lost when out in public. In the home, it increases the risk of falling and sustaining a serious or even life-threatening injury. If you notice that your loved one wanders from room to room without intention, it could be a sign of a more serious mental health issue and that it’s time for assisted living.

Changes in Appearance

For a lot of family members, one of the first indicators that an elderly parent may require more comprehensive care is changes in their appearance. If mom or dad show up to Thanksgiving dinner looking disheveled or wearing mismatched clothes, it may be time to question why that is. If your family gathers at the family home for the holidays, look for additional signs. Is the laundry done, folded and put away? Are there dishes in the sink that are not from the Thanksgiving feast? Are the surfaces clean, or are they grimy? These indicators may suggest your elderly loved one needs more help with activities of daily living (ADLs).

Mobility Issues

If your loved one wishes to remain in the family home, it is crucial that they are able to get around easily and without assistance. Otherwise, they are at risk of falling and sustaining an injury when no one is around to help with ambulation. If your parent struggles to climb the steps, needs help in and out of a chair, or can’t step over a small ledge without assistance, discuss the possibility of remodeling the home to help them age in place or transitioning them to an assisted living community.

Having the “Tough Conversation” Over Thanksgiving

Though it can be difficult, it’s may be time to consider having the tough conversation with a parent this Thanksgiving regarding their health and well-being.

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone during this time. For additional information, check out an earlier article we wrote on How To Talk With Your Parents About Assisted Living.
Me and my team at Senior Living Options of the Desert are also here to answer any questions you might have. If your loved one ultimately needs professional senior care, we can help provide you with recommendations on trusted assisted living communities in Riverside and San Bernardino counties that meet your family’s unique needs.

Have you had the “tough conversation” with your aging parents this holiday season? What was your conversation like? We’d like to hear your stories, and any tips you may have, in the comments below.

About Senior Living Options of the Desert

Senior Living Options of the Desert is Southern California’s leader in senior living referral. We’ve been helping families find compassionate care for their loved one’s since 2004.

Whether you’re looking for independent living, assisted living, memory care, or another form of senior care, our local family advisors will help you find the right option for you and your family. Our mission is to provide families with the best residential care options based on care needs and location, no matter what the budget. And, our services are always FREE.

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