6 Telltale Signs of Declining Health in the Elderly
Elderly individuals tend to have a strong sense of independence and freedom, which they are often unwilling to give up. For this reason, they tend to downplay their health and constantly reassure others that they can maintain their autonomy. However, matters can become more difficult if their health starts deteriorating rapidly.
Now, you might have started growing concerned about your elderly parent’s health after you visited them recently. You are confused about which signs you need to look for and how you can help them without overstepping. For this reason, we have mentioned a list of signs of declining health in elderly individuals.
Let’s have a look:
1. Unexplained bruising
As we mentioned before, a sense of independence is crucial for the elderly. Your parents probably resent being old and frail and don’t want to become a burden on anyone. For this reason, they opt to do things on their own as long as possible. However, when they are not in the condition to work properly, doing all the chores themselves can result in cuts, burns, or bruises on their body. Minor accidents become a telltale sign that their eyesight or coordination is not as robust as it was. So, if you notice unexplained bruising on their body, know that their health is deteriorating.
On the other hand, if your elderly parents live at a nursing home, then unexplained bruising can signify nursing home abuse. In that case, we suggest that you look for a reliable firm. They can help sue the nursing home and guide you on how to report abuse in a nursing home timely. Such steps are necessary to ensure your elderly parent’s safety and well-being.
2. Change in personality
Personality changes are one of the biggest telltale signs that your aging loved one is facing health issues. It may be increased irritability, anger, and frustration, or it can be in the form of loss of interest and other signs of depression. If you notice such signs, take immediate action as they indicate that their health is deteriorating.
What happens is that there’s a network of neurotransmitters in the brain that controls a person’s mood and personality. Any damage to that network because of any injury or declining health can cause their personality to alter. Such mood changes can also be the beginning signs of dementia – a neurological condition.
3. Increased forgetfulness
Another significant warning sign that your elderly individual’s health is deteriorating is that they develop forgetfulness. If you visit your parents only a couple of times a month, you might need to keep your eye open for signs such as piling bills, forgetting names, etc. The reason why forgetfulness is dangerous is that it can cause them to neglect their health and forget about taking medicines on time.
Moreover, it can cause huge hindrances in their daily life. So, monitor their behavior closely and keep a check on their bills, emails, and medicine to ensure everything is in order. And if they’re being increasingly forgetful, then consult a doctor.
4. Loss of appetite
Any change in eating habits is another sign that the health of your elderly loved ones is deteriorating. If they eat too many meals a day or miss out on meals, it is a sign that they are facing forgetfulness as they lose track of mealtimes.
In contrast, it can also signify a loss of appetite, suggesting that they are facing some health complications. So, if you notice any weight loss in your elderly loved ones, consult a doctor about what steps you must take to prevent that.
5. Poor hygiene
If you visited your elderly parent’s house and found it disorganized, messy, and cluttered, that shows that their hygiene is problematic. Whether the clutter results from a lack of motivation to work, or because they are facing mobility issues, it acts as a sign of deteriorating health.
Moreover, you may also notice signs of bad personal hygiene, which can be due to many reasons such as forgetfulness, mobility issues, cognitive issues, etc. All of these signs show that their health is worsening, and they now require the help of a caregiver.
6. Frequent illnesses
One of the most obvious but downplayed signs of declining health in elderly individuals is frequent illnesses. So, notice if they have become more prone to catching cold often or getting the flu now and then. If they are getting sick more often and recovering slowly, it shows that their immune system is deteriorating.
In such a case, consult a doctor regarding the steps you can take to ensure their immune system remains strong and what type of medical care they need now.
Do not ignore any sign of deteriorating health in your elderly parents, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem. Because their condition can worsen soon, things will get out of hand before you have the time to prepare for them. For this reason, pay attention to every little detail, and consult doctors about the steps you can take to ensure that your elderly parents maintain their health for longer. But if it is too late and their health has worsened, opt to provide care for them. You will have to take over as a primary caregiver, or you can hire a home nurse to assist in the process. But keep the transition slow, as taking control of their lives can cause them to become more frustrated about the situation.