WARNING SIGNS OF PROBLEMS IN ELDERLY

Dec 12th, 2011 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

Identifying Health Problems in Seniors

Mental and emotional problems come in many varieties in senior citizens.  Age-related health issues only increase the list of problems the elderly experience.  Thankfully, there are usually signs and symptoms you can watch for to identify when your elderly loved one has health issues that need to be addressed. These may be signs that suddenly appear, or they may have been going on for a while.  Whichever is your experience, your loved one needs help if these problems show up.

Grooming: Seniors’ grooming habits may change, and poor grooming is easy to detect because you can see it.  There may be stains from food or urine on clothing; the loved one may carry a body odor of urine, or you may smell it in her/his room/home.  They may not be bathing as often as needed, because it’s too much trouble and takes too much energy.

Mood: Sudden changes in mood is a sign of mental/emotional problems.  Elders who are easily angered, suspicious of others or paranoid about others need to be seen by their physician to determine what steps need to be taken for addressing this unusual behavior.

Friendships: Seniors who become reluctant to visit with friends or spend time with others (such as in a nursing home or assisted living) may be experiencing any number of mental, emotional or physical problems.  Any loss of interest in otherwise normal activities is an indication of potential problems.  As well, this behavior is frequently accompanied with sadness and depressed affect.  Such withdrawal and depression need medical attention.

Judgment: It is not unusual for seniors to develop poor judgment as they age.  Short-term memory is frequently affected, and problems like doors left open or unlocked, gas or electricity left burning on the stove, hiding/stashing money and then forgetting where it is, trying to walk without a walker or when a wheel chair is needed, are all examples of seniors’ inability to problem solve and logically think through processes.

Mental Confusion: Mental confusion can take many forms.  Signs of financial issues may include inability to pay bills on time, inability to accurately write a check, inability to understand bills and statements leading to confusion about what to pay and when.  Some elders who are still administering their own medications begin missing doses, or take incorrect doses.  This may show up with running out earlier than the dosage would indicate, and the senior being confused about and unable to explain why that is happening.  Confusion can also show up in missing appointments with physicians or forgetting about lunches or engagements with friends and family.  This may occur even when the appointment is written on an easily accessible calendar.

Changes in Habits: Any change in daily habits is a signal that medical attention is needed.  This especially includes eating and sleeping.

Falling: Seniors who fall frequently are at high risk for breaking hips and other bones required for mobility.  Unsteadiness that results in falling needs to be addressed by a physician, and recommendations for assistive devices to keep the elderly loved one safe need to be pursued.



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  1. [...] there are usually signs and symptoms you can watch for … … Continue reading here: WARNING SIGNS OF PROBLEMS IN ELDERLY | Senior Citizen … ← Seniors Warned Against Dependence on Vitamin [...]

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