There are times when we see odd behavior in a senior member of the family and think if this might just be the result of old age or a telltale sign of something that is a cause for concern. Aging is a natural part of life and it happens to all of us but while chronic disease like diabetes and heart problems can put a toll in many folks there are others that can maintain their independence, mental acuity and vitality well throughout their 70s and 80s.
PB was in his early seventies when symptoms of dementia began creeping in. While in his younger days he was known to be smart, he was known sometimes to be absent-minded often times misplacing stuff or forgetting the names of his kids. So no alarm bells were sounded when he began to experience an increased frequency of forgetfulness. It was not until PB became disoriented on a short walk from the grocery that there was something more than just your ordinary absent-mindedness.
If we are thinking of putting our aging loved ones in a retirement community, it is vital that we balance concern with their welfare along with their need to maintain independence. Loss of autonomy means loss of control and losing that can be pretty traumatizing to many seniors.
Six Warning Signs
- Physical – Look at how the senior walks, are there weight changes or is the senior no longer able to perform activities of daily living such as grooming and bathing.
- Household Changes – Check if there is no more food in the fridge or if many are expired
- Changes in Mood – Check for any signs of anxiety or depression
- More than Usual Forgetfulness – Check for patterns and increasing regularity
- Misuse of Prescribed Meds – Is the senior not able to identify and take his medicines anymore?
- Mishandling of Money – Look for any unpaid bills or signs of trouble tracking expenses
If you have seen or recognized the signs above maybe its time to communicate your concerns in a compassionate and clear manner. Discuss with your family members whether a senior assisted living setup may be the best and safest choice.