Is your elderly parent or grandparent in good health? It may be difficult for a spouse or caregiver who is there every day to see elderly health decline, so on your holiday visit you may want to look for these signs of decline.
7 Signs Of Elderly Health Decline:
- Hoarding - An elderly person may simply hang on to furniture or mementos for sentimental reasons, but compulsive collecting and clutter may be an indication of the onset of dementia or even Diogenes Syndrome.
- Unpaid Bills - Keeping up with bills and payments can be confusing for anyone, but an elderly person suffering either physical or mental health decline may have sudden accumulation of unpaid bills. Taking some time to help your loved one pay bills can help, but you may also want to speak with their doctor about possible cognitive impairment.
- Paranoia - Short-term memory loss can lead to anxiety and distrust of caregivers or other family members. Knowing how to look for paranoid symptoms may uncover dementia or other disorders that need a doctor’s attention.
- Untidyness - Sudden changes in household tidiness or personal hygiene may be an indication of underlying health decline. Not having enough food, keeping spoiled or expired food or poorly preparing food may all be symptoms of dementia or other impairment. Poor personal hygiene may also be noticeable as body odor, unkept fingernails or dirty clothing.
- Medication Misuse - The average elderly person age 65-69 takes 14 medications per year, the number increasing to 18 medications for persons age 80-89. Complicated dosing schedules are exacerbated when a patient has dementia or memory loss. Not only can you help your loved one in dispensing medicines, but you might consult a doctor if medication misuse appears to be getting worse.
- Confusion or Difficulty Communicating - One the most noticeable signs of cognitive decline in an elderly person is confusion or difficulty speaking. This may involve repetitive questions or uncertainty about routine activities. The 4 A’s of Alzheimer’s Disease describe Amnesia (loss of memory), Agnosia (loss of recognition), Aphasia (loss of language) and Apraxia (loss of muscle coordination).
- Caregiver Stress – Finally, a spouse or other family caregiver may become stressed as an elderly patient requires more effort or emotional demand. A caregiver who is present every day may suffer caregiver stress and burnout. Despite their best intentions, they can become so stressed they are not able to see the signs of health decline, or their personal involvement leads to denial. Your holiday visit may be a great opportunity to checkup on both your elderly loved one and their caregiver.
As an elderly patient's health declines, or a family caregiver reaches his or her limits, it may be time for professional in home care. Hill Country Care Providers offers 24 Hour In Home Care for our Austin, TX clients. We are an entirely private pay home health agency, since Medicare does not cover such stellar care options. We are focused on providing premier in-home care, not simply providing the minimal care covered by Medicare. Our clients either have additional long-term health care insurance or prefer to pay out of pocket for the best care available.