My Parents Aren’t As Healthy As I Thought
The holiday season is the time that families gather together, often from long distances. If you haven’t seen your parents in a while, you may notice they are aging more than you remembered. Here are some things to watch for the next time you visit.
Physical Appearance: Is your parent clean and presentable? Not keeping up with daily routines could be a result of physical, mental, or emotional decline. Do you notice any weight loss? Cooking may have become difficult. Also, some medications can affect taste and cause a lack of appetite. Pay attention to how your parent walks. Is balance or gait a problem? Unsteadiness can increase the risk of falling, which can result in serious injury.
Home Environment: If your parent has always maintained the yard, home repairs, a clean house and paid bills on time, a neglected yard or repairs, a cluttered or dirty house, or stack of unpaid bills could be clues that things are not quite right. Is your parent able to handle their medications? Should they be driving?
Memory Loss: Everyone loses their keys or forgets things occasionally. But having trouble with common words, getting lost in a familiar neighborhood, or not being able to follow directions could be indications of something serious. By the way, it’s not always dementia—a urinary tract infection that can be cured with antibiotics, other medical issue, or even a medication can often present with memory loss or confusion.
Emotional Well-Being: Watch for signs of depression, including withdrawal from social activities, changes in sleep patterns, or loss of interest in hobbies.
What can you do?
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