The holidays are a time of homecoming, when we gather with family and share good food, good times and good conversations, but for people who don't live near their parents, going home for the holidays can also provide time to assess how elderly parents are doing at home.
Your parents may be fine, but when people get older, it can be easy to miss signs of poor health, memory problems and other issues that should be addressed before things worsen. Make your holiday visit as special as ever, but keep an open mind and a watchful eye.
Look to their appearance for cues on general health and hygiene. Pay close attention to bruises, which could indicate falls or stumbles. Listen closely to what they say, and watch how they perform tasks, to check for memory problems. Spend time with them in the community to see how they conduct themselves in restaurants or stores, especially unfamiliar ones. Pay attention to their health habits, observe their surroundings at home, watch their driving, and subtly inquire about their finances.