Use the holidays to assess an older parent’s health

Kevin Magna

December 6, 2010

It is often difficult for adult children to try and assess an older parent's health, but the holidays can present a way for families to discuss whether seniors may require additional care or supervision.

One of the most pressing issues that may need to be discussed is whether an older adult should continue to drive. Consumer Reports states that up to 76 percent of seniors can still pass a driver's test with mild dementia, so it's up to families to gauge when to take the keys away, according to SeniorJournal.com.

"I recommend to my patients that they use holiday reunions as a time to get the family together to discuss a senior's driving ability and agree on the next steps," said Dr. Orly Avitzur, a board-certified neurologist, the news provider reports.

Hopefully, parents and children can come to an understanding about driving by either restricting the hours that a senior can drive or finding alternatives for transportation.

Many older adults may find themselves at home more, after they are unable to drive. To ensure their safety, families may want to consider installing a senior alert system in the residence. This device allows older adults to instantly send a medical alert to loved ones or doctors in the case of an emergency.