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Christmas is Right Around the Corner. What Better Time to Talk About the Family.

Will you be celebrating the holiday with a nearly normal or dysfunctional family?

The normal aging family can have their own problems. Leading up to Christmas, adult children can struggle when their aging Mom is not able to cook the traditional meal and be the hostess of the family ritual and rituals to come. An aging Mom or Dad’s decline can be confusing, even for families that are close-knit, well-integrated, and highly functioning.

But for the dysfunctional aging family, a disabled Mom’s need for care can be overwhelming and even destructive. This kind of family is marked by strained relationships and unresolved conflict. They not only do not want to take over rituals or cook the Christmas meal, but they will also attend the annual family ritual and make a scene or, more likely, never show up at all.

Over Christmas, if you travel safely in person or host yourself safely with Grandma and Grandpa and family, you should watch the way your family interacts and try to assess what kind of family you have. This is a stepping stone to a way to work together as a team (or not) as a parent declines. You can also call Aging Care Planning Solutions to help you both assess your family and make plans with the family about Mom or Dad’s aging and decline.


Patti Urban, CSA, is the CEO of Aging Care Planning Solutions, an aging life care management company that assists the elderly and their families with advance care planning as well as guidance for patients with life-limiting illnesses. She can be reached at

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