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Guide for holiday check-ins

December 9, 2020
young woman with small daughter interacts with older gentleman wearing a mask
Are you concerned about the health of your aging parents or other extended family members? Here are tips for checking in.

As you and your loved ones get creative in finding safe ways to celebrate the holidays, make sure to check in on their health and ensure they don't delay care. 

Check out this guide for having important health discussions with loved ones during the holiday season, including what questions to ask, and how to ask them.

Starter questions:

  • “I know these past few months have been tough, so I wanted to check in and see how you’re doing. How have you been feeling lately?”
  • “Have you been to the doctor yet this year? It’s really important that you keep up with annual physicals or checkups with specialists you’d typically see before the pandemic hit.”
  • “I love that video visits are now offered more regularly. Have you tried a video visit appointment yet? They’re super quick and easy to get set up.”
  • “It’s very important that everyone gets their flu vaccine this year. Have you gotten yours yet?”
  • “How have you been doing with [insert ailment]? Have you consulted a doctor about it recently?”
  • “Have you noticed any new health concerns recently that you haven’t talked to someone about yet? I’ve read that some people are delaying care as a result of COVID-19, and I just want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.”
  • “I’ve noticed something about your health that concerns me, and I want to make sure you’re okay.”
  • “The pandemic can be stressful and isolating, and so many people are struggling as a result. How are you feeling mental health wise?”

Tips for the conversation:

  • Tell the truth if you’ve seen something that concerns you.
  • Avoid sounding accusatory, approach from a position of love and concern.
  • Avoid saying “you should” and other words that make it sound like you’re giving orders.
  • Don’t be prescriptive (that’s what health care professionals are for).
  • Offer to help them get an appointment scheduled or to give them a ride to their appointment. 
  • Follow up on what is discussed to ensure it's taken care of.