Holiday & Family

Holidays and Family

By AMBER Published: DECEMBER 4, 2014
christmas imageI hope this “most wonderful time of the year” finds you happy and healthy!  Here we are in the middle of the holidays and 2015 is right around the corner!  Where does the time go?!  It seems to go by faster and faster each year.
This year was definitely a transitional year for my family.  Some big changes and big decisions were made with regards to my father-in-law.  My husband is the oldest of seven and also has two step-siblings.  So, needless to say, getting nine people, ten including my father-in-law, to agree on anything is a challenge.
My father-in-law’s decline started with my mother-in-law’s passing about two and a half years ago.  They had been married for nearly 30 years and they had planned for him to die first.  My mother-in-law was the healthy one, the active one, and everyone was sure she would live to 100.  Unfortunately, God had another plan for her.
She took care of my father-in-law and kept him somewhat active and social.  When she was gone, he sat in his chair.  He was depressed, especially around holidays.  We all tried to get him out, family came to visit in intervals, but he just didn’t seem to have the will to live.  Well, let me be really honest, he SAID he didn’t want to live.  He didn’t take care of himself, didn’t care to see anyone and wasn’t eating properly to keep up his strength.  He ended up in the hospital.
He had been there before, but this time, he was really weak and everyone decided the best thing for him was to go into an assisted living community.  He was not thrilled about it, but interestingly enough, he understood that he had put himself in that situation and realized that he really couldn’t live by himself.  And we would later find out, he really didn’t want to take care of himself.
He had options to stay in Colorado, or go back to Maryland where he is from.  His daughter and son live in Maryland, and so does his sister.  Amazingly enough, everyone agreed that Maryland was where he should go.  He was a little reluctant, but we gave him the option to come back if he really didn’t like it.  He was there for two months and decided to stay.  We have been back to visit and he is doing much better.
He has had some ups and downs, but for the most part he is doing as good as can be expected.  He is fortunate enough to have a decent retirement income, and he also was able to take advantage of his VA Aid and Attendance benefits.  Which, every veteran should sign up for any and all benefits they have earned.
A lot of the older generation don’t think they need it or don’t want the “help”, but anyone who knows me knows I am a huge proponent of Veterans using the benefits that they earned and deserve.  They served our country and gave of themselves as did their family.  They EARNED it and DESERVE every single benefit they are eligible for.  So please, please take advantage of those benefits.  Getting off my soapbox now….
I share this experience because I know our family is not alone in this experience.  I went through this with my dad a few years ago and my mom and I have already talked about her wishes when she is no longer able to live alone.
As the holidays are here and some of us are spending more time with family we haven’t seen in a while.  This is a good time to not only visit and enjoy time with your aging loved ones, be observant and look for the little, and big, signs there may be a problem developing.
If you do notice a situation that you feel needs to be discussed.  Choose the appropriate time and broach the subject in a non-threatening way.  There are some great resources under our resources tab on
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.  Enjoy and embrace your loved one’s this holiday season, have have a Happy and Blessed New Year. ~ Helping You Help Your Aging Parents