Aging presents several unique issues for seniors. Things like dementia and Alzheimer’s seem to be the most prominently noticed, but there are other things that cause great concern in our aging loved ones.
It’s important to be proactive. Don’t depend solely on a facility to take note of the little changes that become large issues when left unattended. Being proactive can save your aging parent/grandparent’s life.
Watch for small changes, the things that normally would not be noticed by a healthcare professional simply because they do not know what is fully normal for your loved one. Here are a few tidbits you can look for in the care of your senior.
- Changes in diet – Is your aging parent only nibbling at meals? As we grow older the appetite diminishes but it doesn’t mean we don’t need to eat. Be aware if your loved one is eating well and if you see they are not, check immediately with your health care provider for appropriate supplements such as Premier Protein or Ensure that will help bring protein and vitamin levels up.
- Loss of weight – Weight loss is a sure sign something is not right. It can signal illness, dietary issues, even issues with dental work. Weight loss is not an issue to be ignored. At the first signs of this, contact your physician.
- Pressure sores – Pressure sores (otherwise called bed sores), happen more in those who are unable to ambulate on their own. When the bulk of their hours are spent in a bed rather than walking or sitting, pressure sores develop. These can become not only serious, but chronic very quickly. It’s important that, should your senior be bed ridden, they are shifted frequently to allow air and blood flow to return to suspect areas. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if a pressure sore develops so proper attention can be given to prevent infection and aid in speedy healing.
- Teeth and gums – As we age our body size lessens – we grow smaller, so to speak. You may notice rings don’t fit like they once did or shoes that normally fit well, slip. This is true of dentures as well. Gums can shrink causing dentures to slip and rub. Sores can develop or even choking can happen. If your loved one still has their permanent teeth, regular dental appointments may need to be upped to three to four times a year instead of the normal every six-month visit. Dental appliances need to be checked frequently throughout the year to assure a good fit. Loose teeth can cause pain and root decay. Watch for difficulty in chewing or wearing dental appliances and seek attention if necessary.
- Hydration – A lack of hydration will quickly send a senior into physical distress. The body requires water. Urinary tract infections, potassium issues, blood pressure, and kidney and liver issues can happen when seniors are not hydrated. Be sure your loved one is receiving adequate amounts of fluids to keep them in top notch shape.
These are a few symptoms that may require attention as our loved ones age. It’s important to remember our parents were raised in a time when you didn’t complain, rather you simply tolerated the issue over having it attended to. It is not uncommon for them to brush these aches and pains to the side. Take time to notice the little things in the care of your aging parent. Acting quickly can save their life.