In today’s world, seniors are living longer, families are dispersed all over the country, and we all want to keep our independence. However, with phone relationships, we usually don’t get the whole picture. Adult children can struggle to come to terms with their parent’s aging process; and seniors of this generation often do not ask for help easily.
What are the warning signals?
First, what are the leading indicators that change may be on the way? Death of a spouse, loss of one’s health, or family/friends moving away can be precursors to change.
Second, pause for a minute and determine what describes your senior?
How would you describe their normal baseline? Are they normally organized, happy, groomed? Quiet, hesitant, apprehensive? Messy, clumsy, disheveled? Confident, a conversationalist, assertive? Being any one of these things doesn’t indicate much, but if their behavior varies from the norm this may indicate a change of condition and/or suggest a downward trend.
With careful observation, research and discussion, note any changes in the three different dimensions- physical emotional, and cognitive.
Physical warning signals include: Unexplained weight loss, bruises or injuries, multiple falls, or changes in appearance. Seniors’ skin can get very thin and is more susceptible to tearing.
Some medications can increase the potential for bruising.
Noted emotional changes include: Fear of being alone; stops calling friends, not participating in things they enjoyed; not going to church; not coming to family dinners; not going out with friends for lunch; or wearing pajamas and slippers all day long.
Some examples of Cognitive indicators: Unpaid bills, mountains of unopened mail, loss of money or questionable financial decisions, pets poorly cared for, vehicle is accumulating dents, food and medications are beyond pull dates, changes in sleep patterns such as increased sleep or any wakefulness.
Actions to take:
Don’t wait until something tragic happens. Go to a doctor to review medications and change of conditions. Build a safety net of attentive family and friends. Consider bringing care into the home or moving to a safer living situation. Be strong.
Article Provided by:
Garden Court Retirement