A Road-map for Stress-Free Holiday Visits

A Road-map for Stress-Free Holiday Visits

It’s the holiday season when all is supposed to be “merry and bright.”  “Peace on Earth” is not always the case in families with aging parents and children who disagree with one another about their parent’s needs.  Among other matters, who should make decisions and when they should be made.   Here in Florida many families have children who live out of state.  They visit for the holidays and issues surface.  They may disagree with and/or question diagnoses, action plans, caregiving, parents driving, management of finances, and more.


Communication among family members is the key.  Contact all year long enables all siblings to be involved to the extent they are interested.  Siblings can participate from afar by conducting research on issues and situations so that decisions can be made jointly before critical decisions arise – or at worst – have some information ready for a critical decisions that comes before its expected.


The sibling “in charge” usually lives nearby and carries the lion’s share of the burden.  They often have put their life on hold to meet their parent’s needs – both every day and when emergencies occur.


What can siblings do to make the holiday season the best it can be?  The sibling “in charge” needs a much-needed break.  To provide this break, while in town, the family can step in and take on many tasks.  In advance, one of the family members can send out an email composed of two parts to all siblings.  Part one would identify each and every task they did for the past year and thank them profusely for doing them.  The list could be compiled with the help of the sibling “in charge” as they are likely to know because their burden was lifted.  Part two would be a list of things that each sibling could do while visiting.  Some tasks could include re-stocking groceries, personal care items, clothing; simple home repairs; cooking special dishes; paying bills, reviewing bank statements and RMD distributions; identifying care options, possibly assisted living options for the future. This is time to be creative.


This effort will bring all siblings together for the good of the family and will generate much goodwill.  It will create an upbeat and positive atmosphere where important conversations can take place about what needs to be done in the New Year and the best ways to do it.  This will give parents and children a very special holiday to remember.  If you need help with ideas or process we can help.