Christmas brings together families and important decisions

Christmas table setting  

As we approach the end of another year many of us will be looking forward to the festive season and the chance to slow down and catch up with family, particularly elderly parents. Busy lives and distant homes can make it easy to feel out of touch. Sadly, at this time of year you may also begin to notice changes in your ageing parents.

It's distressing and worrying to accept that your parents who were once vital may soon need help to manage their day to day needs. Hard decisions may need to be made and many adult children and ageing parents will need professional guidance to convert the mountain of data on aged care into meaningful and relevant information and ultimately into appropriate decisions.

Did you know:

Many older Australians live alone, and families may not notice the decline in an older person's ability to live independently. The Christmas/New Year period can be a time when families come together and have an opportunity to observe how well a parent is coping:

Pie chart displaying percentage of elderly people that live alone

It might be time for a family meeting

The New Year is traditionally a time to take stock and plan ahead. If you have elderly parents, this year's planning should include family discussions to help parents plan ahead for the help they may need.

If you are in fact that elderly parent, Christmas time provides an opportunity to discuss your care needs with your adult children. Make yourself heard. Have these discussions earlier while you are still able to maintain your control and independence, to anticipate how your need for care may increase. Christmas time might be one of the few opportunities during the busy year for discussions with all those people who are important to you.

If the thought of this discussion fills you with dread, the support of an Accredited Aged Care Professional ™ may prove invaluable.

The value of a family meeting

A family meeting is often an essential step in planning for aged care and may help to minimise conflicts within your family. Emotional conflicts between family members can make the transition to care more distressing for an elderly parent and have the potential to rip families apart. 

A well-run family meeting can allow parents, children and other family members to discuss issues and preferences, express concerns and make decisions that work for your family as a whole.

Sophie Doyle is an Accredited Aged Care Professional ™ who can assist with arranging and running a family meeting to help your family see the big picture more objectively. Sophie can provide a neutral voice in what can be an overwhelmingly emotional discussion, so you can consider the best options for your parents' care, security and happiness.

The earlier you take this step, the better. Planning ahead ensures that parents are fully involved in the decision-making and removes some of the stress from other family members. With a well organised plan in place, your family can respond more quickly and effectively when an event requiring a move to aged care occurs.

How can we help?

Sophie Doyle is an Accredited Aged Care Professional ™ and Authorised Representative. If you would like assistance working through the complexity of the aged care process (and taking away the stress) contact Sophie by phone on 02 4325 0884 or by email at


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