When children come home for holiday visits, they start to see their home and parents through "grown-up" eyes. At some point, it is hard not to notice changes -- positive (such as newly painted and remodeled rooms) and not-so-positive (such a signs that the house needs repairs or could use a good cleaning.) Here's a strategy for quietly keeping track of changes, including a checklist for families and home caregivers.Multi-task during your holiday visit The holiday season is nearly here! During your visit to your parents’ house, take some time to discreetly look around for signs that your parents are doing well or that they’re starting to need help. Don’t make it obvious Remember to keep your detective work under the radar so you don’t risk putting your parents on the defensive or cause them to change their normal behavior. Your main goal is to observe and take notes. Once you understand the full picture, you can start an informed conversation about changes that need to be made. Take notes for reference Even if everything is going well, make sure to keep your notes so you can refer to them in the future. That way, you can track how your parents are doing as time passes. Home visit checklist In general, look for signs of trouble with or changes in thinking skills, vision, and physical activity. Physical and mental health

  • Have they lost weight or do they seem more frail?
  • Do they have trouble having normal conversations?
  • Do you notice any strange new behaviors like repeating stories or being unusually confused about simple things?
  • Are they squinting or tripping over things much more than usual?

Getting around

  • Are their driving skills the same as before? Do you feel safe when they drive you around?
  • Are there any unexplained dents or scratches on the car?
  • Have you heard about any traffic tickets?

Social life

  • Do they still do the activities they used to enjoy?
  • Are they reluctant to leave the house?
  • Are they keeping up with their usual friends and community organizations?

The house

  • Is the house messier or dirtier than normal?
  • Is there a lot of unopened mail? Are unpaid bills lying around?
  • Are there broken household items like clogged drains, burned out light bulbs, or broken appliances?

The kitchen

  • Is the refrigerator stocked with fresh foods they normally eat?
  • Is there moldy or expired food around?
  • Are there burned pots and pans or burn marks on the floors or counters?


  • Are there any new medications, vitamins, or supplements you haven’t seen before?
  • Is their medication organized so it’s easy to take the correct dose at the correct time?
  • Are expired medications mixed up with current ones?

Print this list We’ve created a PDF version of this list, with actual checkboxes, so you can print it out and take it with you on your visit. Go through the list, check things off, make notes, then file it away for future use. Next Step>Print or save this checklist (PDF) By Connie Chow, Contributing Writer and Founder of DailyCaringImage: SheKnows UK

October 31, 2021
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