As you get older, personal health and wellness are two things you can’t take for granted. It is important to be proactive about your health, and seek help if needed. Here are 9 senior health warning signs you can’t afford to ignore.
1. Memory Loss
It is not uncommon for the elderly to experience memory issues from time to time. However, there’s a difference between normal memory loss and acute memory loss. The age-related forgetfulness means not being to quickly retrieve information that’s right there on the tip of the tongue or occasionally forgetting glasses or keys. On the other hand, the signs of acute memory loss include but are not limited to:
- Frequently getting lost in the most familiar places
- Not being able to follow the simplest of instructions
- Getting confused about people and time
If you start noticing all these symptoms, it is time for a checkup.
2. Sudden Weight Loss
Weight loss is a symptom that is triggered by several factors when it comes to seniors. For instance, the elderly in your home may struggle with cooking because they are unable to read the labels properly or find it difficult to use tools in and around the kitchen. Even losing the sense of smell and taste can have an adverse effect on their appetite and thus, they will reduce their food intake. Diseases or serious underlying health issues such as depression, cancer, and dementia can result in sudden weight loss as well.
3. Constant Fatigue
We often think that fatigue is a result of old age when the body becomes incapable of doing all the chores with same enthusiasm and speed as before. But then, it can also be a result of elevated stress levels and poor sleep quality. Inexplicable fatigue can also be caused by diseases such as cancer, sleep apnea, thyroid diseases, anxiety and depression, dehydration and long-term pain.
4. Slurry Speech
Slurry speech or difficulty in talking coherently can also be one of the major signs of deteriorating health for seniors. The symptoms can hint at Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s and Dementia to name a few.
5. Change in Bowel Movements
If the elderly member is using the restroom too often and not mentioning anything about it at all, it can hint at constipation, acid reflux, diarrhea etc. They may be shy to tell you, but you have to carefully observe and talk to them about it as irregular bowel movement can indicate gastrointestinal diseases, ulcers, polyps etc.
6. Excessive Mood Swings
Have you been noticing a change in the behavior patterns of your parents, grandparents or relatives? Do they have frequent mood swings, which are often inexplicable? This may pinpoint a number of medical conditions such as dementia, sleep disorders, vitamin B12 deficiency, cognitive impairment, delirium and so on and so forth. It can also hint at depression and similar health issues.
7. Difficulty in Moving Around
Notice how the senior in your home move about to do their daily chores. Is there a sign that they have difficulty in walking? Is it getting more difficult for them to walk even short distances? Do they tend to suffer from frequent falls?
These are all the symptoms of joint pain and muscle weakness. This can lead to major risks such as falling, it can lead to disability in the elderly.
8. Challenges in Deciphering
Many times, elderly may experience a drastic change in their ability to work with words or numbers. For instance, they may not be able to manage their monthly bills or need to keep reading the recipe repeatedly but unable to follow the instructions. Alternatively, they may have difficulty in focusing and solving crosswords or numerical puzzles or take a long time to do so. While it is not necessarily a sign of Alzheimer’s you can’t rule it out and immediately need to get the condition diagnosed by your PC.
9. Changes in Personal Care
Have you started noticing that the senior member of your family is neglecting personal care? Have they almost stopped paying attention to what they are wearing? Are they dressing differently than they usually do?
Well, you can’t generalize it, but when a person has mental health troubles, he/she will stop sticking to the personal care routines. This varies from person to person, but in general, they may start skipping showers/baths, brushing their hair, and or grooming themselves.
These are some of the common signs and symptoms of serious health issues with the elderly. You can address these by more frequent visits/interactions, taking them for regular checkups with their PC, and making sure that their home is safe. If you are unable to look after your loved one, hiring a licensed homecare agency can be a great option.