With the holidays quickly approaching, you may be starting to schedule your family visits. If it includes traveling to visit your aging parents, make sure there is plenty of down time to observe how they are aging.

Being with your parents all day and for several days will allow you to recognize if there are any declines in their mobility and mental alertness. Unfortunately, as we age our health declines.

Usually during phone calls or even video calls, it’s difficult to gauge how they are truly doing. Many times, they may express all is well in order to maintain their positive outlook and independence.

Being at their home and living with them for a few days, you’ll recognize if anything is different. You’ll see if one parent is starting to be a caregiver for the other parent.

Here is a list of ideas to incorporate during your visit with your aging parents. These items will help you assess if there are mobility issues or mental declines.

Pay attention to anything that is different regarding how tidy they keep their home.

Take notice of any changes in their personal hygiene.

Allow them to drive in order to evaluate whether it’s safe for them to be on the road.

Visit neighbors to build a relationship with those close by to check in on your aging parents if and when necessary.

Discuss with your aging parents the reality of common fraud schemes targeted for seniors. Take note of any new “friends” who may have ulterior motives.

Review finances and health care insurance coverage.

Schedule doctors’ appointments for when you visit in order to meet their health providers and ask questions.

List all medications and frequency of use, as well as possible side effects.

It may be hard to see your parents as aging, especially if they are strong-minded. But it’s important to recognize the signs early in order to prepare.

Even if you have relatives that live nearby, they may not notice the signs because they see them every day. Physical and mental declines may occur gradually and be subtle to those who are with a person daily.

During your visit aim for fostering interdependence and safety. Many elderly highly value their independence and will hide the truth if it will cause them to lose control. Manage your expectations and understand not everything will be addressed with one visit.


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, RICP®, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing spending plans, comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”

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