Can we get straight to the point?  Some parts of the holidays are wonderful, but we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t admit that other parts can be a little stressful.  If you love planning and organizing, the logistics of pulling off a family get-together can be exhilarating.  If you don’t, however, your stress level may be firing on all cylinders.  In the same way, being surrounded by loved ones can provide comfort, peace, and festive holiday energy, but can also bring with it the challenge of looking out for the aging members of your family.  The holidays change when you factor in caring for an elderly relative, but often a helpful conversation can help you ease into the new situation.  Here are a few tips for conversation starters:

  • If your loved one likes to reminisce about a special time in their life, such as childhood, college, or military service, ask questions to learn more.  You can both benefit from allowing the conversation to play out.
  • Ask about family history, for example, where your family came from, or where your relatives live now.
  • Ask about current events.  For example, ask how they feel about the elections.  (Ask, don’t argue!)  Or if they follow sports, ask about their favorite teams.

As an illustration, when we meet a new client, they will sometimes tell us how they came to the Bay Area.  One woman told us how her father was born in Hungary, moved to Italy as a young man, and then to the United States before WWII.  He returned to Europe and fought in WWII, then came to California.  Our client told us she remembers helping the family plant vines in the Napa valley as a girl.  It can be fun for families to hear these stories before they are lost.

If you would like more information about how we can help you care for your elderly loved ones in the East Bay, call us today at 510-524-6700.


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