Seeing signs of functional decline in seniors is important for ensuring they are healthy and getting the care they need. With so many changes that come with age, not missing the signs is key. The best way to be “in the know” is to build a strong support system of loved ones and elder care assistance in the home. Once a core team is in place, watching for some of the following signs helps keep seniors as healthy as can be.
Physical Changes That Might Occur
Mobility: Trouble walking, an unsteady pace, frequent falls, or relying on furniture or walls for balance.
Strength: Less able to do everyday things like get out of a chair, carry groceries, or lift things.
Cognitive Changes That Might Occur
Memory: Forgetting things often, missing meetings, or losing things often.
Confusion: Trouble with conversations, following directions, or getting lost in places they know well.
Emotional Changes That Might Occur
Mood: Feeling sad all the time, staying away from people, or losing interest in things you used to enjoy.
Withdrawal: Less interest in spending time with family, friends, and other social groups.
Decreased Ability to Care For Themselves
Hygiene: If the elder care team or loved ones notice telltale signs that seniors are not caring for their hygiene as they once did, it’s a sign that something might be wrong.
Medication Management: Forgetting or taking the wrong amount of medicine.
Weight Changes: Suddenly losing or gaining weight.
Appetite: Not wanting to eat, skipping meals, or having an unusually strong desire to eat.
Housekeeping: The inability to keep the home clean as they once did. This can result in a build-up of clutter that not only looks unsightly but might also cause seniors to trip.
Decreased Ability to Interact
Language problems: This is more than just withdrawing, although the two go hand in hand. The elder care team might notice when seniors can’t seem to find the right words, have to repeat questions, or struggle to communicate in a way that makes sense.
Increased Issues With Pain and Health
Complaints: Seniors might begin complaining more about pain or have increased physical problems. who often say they are in pain, uncomfortable, or have other physical problems.
Chronic Illnesses: When a long-term illness like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, etc., gets worse.
New Symptoms: The appearance of new symptoms, such as greater shortness of breath, dizziness, or pain.
Missed Medications and Doctor’s Visits
Missed meetings: Missing medical meetings or not following through with the doctor’s orders.
Medication Errors: Unorganized medication schedules can lead to missed medications or taking too much medication.
The above signs might mean seniors are dealing with a cognitive issue. However, they might also be signs of other issues, so consistently having elder care in the home is a great idea. The team can monitor the situation to assess the root cause and offer a care plan that meets seniors’ needs. A strong team supporting seniors gives them a better chance of early diagnosis and care