March 2, 2011
Signs of Declining Health in Aging Adults
As a family caregiver, how can you tell if your loved one is in trouble? According to geriatrician and researcher Stephanie Studenski, M.D., M.P.H., seniors becoming weak or frail is usually the result of problems with various systems of the body. A number of conditions—from a heart attack or stroke to falls and weight loss—can result in frailty. Here are some of the warning signs that an elderly person is becoming frail.
Change. Mom has always been interested in talking to the neighbors, reading the newspaper, or volunteering but is withdrawing from those interests. Suggest she see her doctor.
Inactivity. Dad is suddenly much less active than usual. Spend some time with him to investigate possible causes.
Slowing down. Grandpa always used to have a bounce in his step. Now, suddenly, he trudges along. That's a bad sign and needs to be addressed.
Loss of appetite and weight. Grandma enjoyed cooking and always had a healthy appetite, but she seems to have lost interest in food. You're right to be concerned.
Unsteadiness. Loss of balance comes with aging but Mom's increasing unsteadiness is a sign that something could be wrong.
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