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Home for the Holidays - Assessing Care Needs and Senior Living Options

Brightview Senior Living Residents

Every fall and winter, family and friends excitedly look forward to celebrations and gatherings. For some adult children, it's also a time of the year to evaluate how their senior parents and loved ones are doing, both physically and mentally. To help families over the holidays, we recently hosted a panel of experts who shared wisdom and tips on what adult children can watch for as they spend time with loved ones over the holidays. This Facebook Live roundtable discussion features an experienced panel, including Certified Geriatric Care Managers Susy Murphy, owner of Debra Levy Eldercare Associates, and Ellen Platt from The Option Group. From Brightview Senior Living, we heard input from Community Executive Directors Laura Stewart and Heather Wojcik, who both provide extensive assisted living and memory care experience. Jennifer Fitzpatrick from Jenerations Health moderated the discussion. 

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Assessment Questions

What should adult children and caregivers watch for as they visit over the holidays?

  • Changes in personal hygiene
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Missed doctor and dentist appointments
  • Decrease in usual standard of housekeeping
  • Scorched pans or pots
  • Higher than normal stress-levels

Safety becomes a big concern with seniors. Are they safe in their current home and on the road? What are some red flags?

  • Difficulty navigating stairs or walking
  • Recent falls
  • If they're still driving, recent violations or accidents
  • Reluctance to walk usual distances 
  • Home maintenance projects piling up

What are some of the signs of memory loss that families should be concerned about? We're not talking about normal forgetfulness, but rather the kind that makes it hard to do everyday things.

  • Getting lost in familiar places
  • Not being able to follow instructions
  • Asking the same question over and over again
  • Becoming confused about time, people, and places
  • More moody or depressed than normal

What about other physical and/or cognitive signs that may signal a problem?

  • Weight loss due to difficulty cooking, loss of taste or smell
  • Difficulty shopping

Might we see some changes in financial habits, and what could those be?

  • Bills are piling up and being neglected
  • Excessive purchases or donations

Are your loved ones still social?

  • What activities are they interested in, and do you see a lack of interests in the things they once enjoyed?
  • Are they still seeing their friends?
  • Are they reluctant to leave home?
  • Do they stay involved with clubs, faith communities, or other organizations?

What are some steps that can be taken to begin having a conversation about senior living options?

  • How to open a dialog with your parents and loved ones
  • How to approach siblings
  • Early actions to suggest or take
  • How to overcome resistance to the conversation
Our panel discusses the questions above in great detail to help you and your family


Experiencing a senior independent livingassisted living, and memory care community firsthand will help you make an informed decision. Even within the same senior living company, each community can have a different feel. Spending time on the premises will give you a sense of what day-to-day life will be like for your or a loved one in their new home. We've created a complimentary checklist to help you during your personal visit.

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Spend as much time as you need walking the grounds. Make sure to take notes so you can review the important things you saw. A great time of day to schedule a personal visit in a community is during lunch or dinner to sample the cuisine and get to know the current residents.

If one community personal visit isn’t enough, don’t be afraid to schedule another, or even return unannounced. Request a list of monthly activities to determine if your interests are addressed in the community’s schedule of events. At Brightview Senior Living, our vibrant living directors schedule an array of activities for all residents to enjoy both inside and outside of the community.

Ask how the activities are selected, and how often they change to gauge whether resident input and feedback are considered when the schedule is created. In the end, go with what your intuition tells you. If the community doesn’t offer a sense of ease and comfort, it’s probably not right for you.


As you visit a community, evaluate as much as you can. Use our checklist to be sure you’ve asked all the right questions.

Download your Complimentary Community Visit Checklist


Senior Living Resources, Dining and Nutrition, Health and Wellness, Memory Care, Vibrant Living

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Whether you are looking for active senior independent living, premium assisted living, or innovative memory care support, the experienced teams at Brightview Senior Living communities offer exceptional, supportive premium care services. No matter which option you choose, you’ll enjoy all the amenities offered in our beautiful senior living communities and the full calendar of daily programs that come with our Vibrant Senior Living philosophy!

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