When our loved ones age, it is natural for them to experience health problems, and generally slow down in their everyday lives. It may be difficult for you to determine whether these are normal signs of aging, or an indication that their health is starting to decline. Read on to discover how to know the difference
One of the first, and most common, signs of health decline in the elderly is a change in personality. Some good examples of this can include:
- Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
- Withdrawing from family or social gatherings
- Irritability that is out of character
If your elderly loved one is showing one or all of these symptoms, you may want to suggest that they make an appointment with their doctor to ensure that there isn’t any serious underlying problems that these changes in personality could be causing.
2.Loss of or decreased balance
Some people are just naturally clumsy and being able to trip over your own feet does not necessarily indicate a mobility issue. In fact, loss of balance is just something that can naturally occur with aging. But if you or your loved one is noticing that they are becoming unsteady on a regular basis, it may be time to share this with their doctor. They may have an issue that they could need treatment for.
3.Unexplained weight loss or decrease in appetite
Unexplained weight loss in the elderly should always be a cause for concern. Unintended weight loss, or loss of appetite in the elderly can be a warning sign for a wide range of health problems. It can also be an indication that the elderly person is no longer able to prepare regular meals for themselves.
4.Misuse of medication
As we age, our need for various medications may increase, this is especially true in the elderly. Taking medication as prescribed is very important, and misuse of medication can lead to serious or even fatal health consequences. If you’re noticing that your elderly loved one has expired prescriptions, or are running out of their prescriptions before they should, it may be an indication that they are no longer taking them properly and you may want to have them assessed by a doctor or health care professional.
If you’re noticing that your elderly loved one is falling in arrears on one more of their financial obligations (and this is not typical of them), it could be a sign of memory loss, or early onset dementia.
Decreased activity in the elderly is normal, but if you’re noticing a steep decline in your elderly loved ones’ activity level it could be a warning sign that your loved one could be experiencing health issues that are contributing to their lack of daily activity.
How to handle an elderly loved one who is experiencing declining health
Discovering that your elderly loved one is in declining health can be very scary and stressful. On one hand, you want to ensure your loved ones’ safety, on the other, you want to respect their independence and autonomy. According to the live in care hub (www.liveincarehub.co.uk), elderly people in declining health can continue to enjoy their independence at home with the help of a home care provider.. In fact, the Better At Home Report suggests that elderly who are able to stay in their homes are able to experience an overall better quality of life, which should give you some peace of mind that you can get them the help they need without making them change their lifestyle too dramatically.