Age old concerns

Here are some signs to watch out for in old age, and seek immediate attention if they surface

age-old-concernsOften old age comes with problems, and mostly health related. Many a times, we miss out on things that are obvious. Especially after those youthful days when one had the attitude of ‘come what may’. Here are some old age signs you should not miss out on, and seek immediate medical attention for.

  • Low mood Due to the many health problems at their age and the on and off aches and pains they experience, we expect a grumpy mood in most elders to be normal. However, that isn’t how it should be. If you notice your otherwise cheerful parent, elderly relative or neighbour appearing sullen, it’s worth probing further and also seeking medical advice if things remain unchanged for long. Elders could feel low or depressed due to loneliness, feeling of worthlessness or troubled relationships at home. Often these aspects are overlooked by them and their family as well.
  • Memory loss We all forget things occasionally but this is one of the most common and challenging problems of the geriatric population world over. If the person forgets names of people who s/he regularly interacts with or memory of very recent events then it could be concerning. Forgetting things like where did they place something or why did they enter the room is normal. But if they lose the trail of a sentence during their speech or forget words it could be a sign of dementia.
  • Lack of careA sudden drop in the way your ageing parents dress or take care of the home should call for your attention. If you notice a lack of interest in bathing, brushing, dressing neatly then the reason should be probed. Also, if your parents have been living by themselves, keep checking on the condition of the house, especially the bathroom and the kitchen. The reason for this decline could be that they have lost confidence to manage on their own and it’s time they moved in with you or arrange for an outside support to help them with their daily chores.
  • Loss of sensationIf your elderly parent is unable to taste excess salt in the food, or has hurt himself and isn’t feeling any pain it calls for serious attention. Some amount of sensory loss is normal and expected as you age but if this becomes a hindrance then it should be fixed. For instance, loss of hearing has to be fixed with a hearing aid even if it is only a partial loss. Loss of sensation of touch should be diagnosed by an expert and treated. If not it could lead to accidents as the person may use too hot water in the bath or touch a hot utensil in the kitchen causing a burn and not even be aware of it.
  • Loss of appetite Again just like children are fussy about the foods they eat, elderly become picky about foods and their appetite changes and reduces from what it used to be. If this is due to dental problems such as caries or absence of teeth, it could be fixed and normal appetite can be restored. However if the loss of appetite is due to indigestion, inability to procure or cook foods of their liking or a general loss of interest due to loneliness or depression, these concerns need to be addressed separately. They may also have a lack of taste which may make all foods taste bland.

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