This week I went to a meeting where the topic was sharing special holiday memories. In addition to our memories, everyone was asked to bring their favorite holiday foods. It was a lot of fun but also a little sad because for several of them – including me – one of their loved ones past away this year. Fortunately for all of us, the happy memories of holidays past live on.

When family members are visiting their parents for the holidays, I often encourage them to use that time to make sure they\’re parent is ok. Look for things such as: is your loved one clean, well groomed, and properly dressed with clean clothes? Has s/he gained or lost significant weight? Is s/he is more timid, apprehensive or withdrawn? Do you notice a change in short term memory or seem confused and/or lose her/his train of thought easily and/or often? Is the interior of the house well maintained? Do you notice excessive clutter and things like piles of unopened mail, lots of sweepstakes offers, etc?

Yes, you should definitely keep your eyes and ears open and if you notice issues and you have an opportunity to talk with your parent – take it.

But times change. Traditions change. Loved ones pass on. So as we hurdle to the end of the year, the most important thing you can do this holiday is spend real memorable time together with the people you love. All the other stuff will still be there in January. Make this holiday season one you\’ll look back on with joy. You never know how many more you\’re going to have with them. And make this a holiday to remember with your kids and your siblings. It\’s what they\’ll look back on for years to come too.

I wish you a joyous holiday and a terrific and prosperous 2010!

© Copyright AgeWiseLiving™ 2009 You can find information about how to talk with your aging loved ones in “The Ultimate Caregiver\’s Success System by going to www.AgeWiseLiving.com. While there, sign up for Barbara\’s free monthly newsletter. You can also contact Barbara by calling toll-free (877) AGE-WISE. Barbara E. Friesner is the country\’s leading Generational Coach and expert on issues affecting seniors and their families. She is an adjunct professor at Cornell University and host of Age Wise Living radio show on VoiceAmerica.com.