Everyone changes. Think about it; you are not the same person you were two years ago. You are different from who you were a decade ago. You probably have those moments when you want to turn back the clock and get back to when you were healthier and fitter.
With elderly parents, however, the situation is different. You know that they will find life more challenging as the months and years go by.
If you notice changes in your aging parents, you may be wondering what healthy aging really looks like. Are these changes normal or are they signs of underlying health problems?
Here are some of the changes you should keep an eye out for:
Memory loss is a natural part of aging. In most cases, you have nothing to worry about.
There is a difference, however, between normal memory loss and the type related to dementia. If their forgetfulness seems to affect their ability to communicate, it’s time to seek advice from a health care professional. You might also want to get a home nurse from Royal District Nursing, for example, to help them with day-to-day living.
Most people think thin is healthy, but losing weight without trying means there’s something wrong. It could be difficulty in cooking or loss in taste or smell. Weight loss could also be a sign of a significant underlying health problem, such as depression, malnutrition, dementia, or even the dreaded big C.
It’s important to schedule an appointment with the doctor to rule out serious conditions. It’s also important to pay attention to their diet—prepare their meals yourself or hire someone to do it.
Are your parents taking care of themselves and the home like they used to? Pay attention to their personal hygiene. Check to make sure they are keeping up with daily routines such as bathing, changing clothes, and brushing their teeth. If mum doesn’t bother with make-up anymore or if there’s always a buildup of dirty dishes in the sink, talk to them and try to see what’s wrong
When this happens, you might be dealing with something serious—it could be depression, dementia, or physical impairments.
It might take some time to be aware of these signs. They often evolve slowly—often over years—but you need to take prompt action. Being alert to these red flags can actually help you spot the problems and prevent them from becoming more serious.