It’s almost Summer vacation time. Are you rattled ?Are alarm bells going off in your head about aging parent issues -yet you have a brother or sister that hardly speak. You may expect another meal with your Mom in mismatched clothes forgetting all her nouns . You may see that sibling on the coming holiday gathering then largely ignore him or her.
Nasty surprises in store
But you and your sibling may have some nasty parental surprises on the family vacation to prompt you to rethink sibling cut off.
If you suspect your holiday visit to aging relatives could have some alarming scenes, here are some red flags to put in a checklist and share with your midlife siblings before the holiday call.
Perhaps your aghast that your older parents have piles of junk mail, dirty clothes, unwrapped gifts when Mom used to shine through her color-coordinated presents. All are cause for the sibling 911 alarm- then action.
You can use this list to assess your parents or older family members during the visit and compare notes on a post-holiday conference call. If all midlife siblings have the same criteria, it makes easier to agree what to do and what to flag as family post vacation resolutions. But- if you and siblings are at war- it makes that conference call much harder.
Below is a list of red flags.
If you saw any red signals on Memorial Day , or expect to face them on Labor Day- now is the time to do something about it. Use this is a checklist of some worrisome signs you may have seen.
Alarm Bells List for Visiting Long Distance Relatives During the Holiday visits
Clutter in a home that was once always neat
Memory loss, change in short-term memory
Poor grooming by a person who was once meticulous
Refusing to go with friends on outings or to religious services
refusing any suggestion or conversely agreeing to everything without consideration
Mood swings, getting angry when normally easy going
Refusing to go to medical providers
Not taking care of activities of daily living: cooking, bathing, dressing, housekeeping, etc.
Entering contests, credit card maxed out on shopping channels
Time for a Family Meeting
When the midlife adult children return from the summer vacation, the family can have a family meeting alone or with an aging professional and look at the problems on everyone’s the list, agree on the top red flags and start helping the long distance family.
Don’t wait till you and your midlife siblings are shocked out of sleep by late-night calls from brothers and sisters, frantically telling them of a crisis with aging Mom or Dad. Don’t force yourself and the other adult children to book last minute, high-cost flights, and gather in scary, sterile hospital rooms with brothers and sisters they have not really communicated in years.