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As your parents age, their autoimmune weakens and so does their physical strength. While some people don’t seem to age as quickly as others, elderly parents might still need help with daily life. It’s important to know signs to watch for deteriorating health in aging parents.
Some common changes are bones shrinking in density and size which can affect height and posture. Joints, tendons, and muscles can lose their strength and flexibility making them more prone to fractures and falls. To take better care of your parents, watch for hints of deteriorating health and take the necessary action in time.
Here are some of the signs to watch for deteriorating health in aging parents.
Paying attention to how your parents walk will let you know when they have any problems that need to be addressed by a podiatrist, such as pain in the foot or ankle area. As mentioned earlier, bones and muscles lose their strength with age which then weakens the legs. Another reason for reduced mobility can be from complications of diabetes and reduced circulation which definitely needs to be addressed with their medical doctor. One other cause of reduced mobility can be from vertigo which can be caused by anything from a stroke to imbalance in the body like low or high sodium.
With reduced mobility, your parents will not be able to stand for long hours or even walk as fast or steadily as they used to before. If they complain of any pain or swelling or you are noticing reduced mobility, immediate set up a doctor’s appointment to address the issue.
Not only can reduce mobility cause your parent to become depressed or loss even more muscle mass due to become sedentary, it can also contribute to falls. Falls are a significant cause of older adults’ disability. Addressing any joint and muscle weakness makes them more stable on their feet which hopefully will reduce falls. Be sure to speak with their doctor on getting help!
Everyone forgets some things at times. However, when you notice your parents have a problem remembering everyday occurrences, pay more attention because it can be a symptom of memory loss. Other signs of memory loss are asking the same questions repeatedly, getting lost even when in familiar places, not following guidelines or instructions, and becoming confused when around people or new locations. Note that memory loss is a common problem associated with aging, and it can sometimes be a side effect of a more serious underlying condition. Have your parents checked by a doctor for diagnosis and a possible treatment plan.
Inability to Take Care of Themselves
If your parents look untidy recently, they are probably finding it harder to take care of themselves. My mom is near her mid 70s and still works in her garden and uses wheelbarrows and power washers, but at some point she might slow down with outdoor work. I doubt it though; she can outwork 30 year olds. LOL Simple tasks such as brushing their teeth or bathing and putting on clothes can become difficult as you age.
Your parents might also lose bladder control because of mobility issues or sickness. Other than their physical appearance, check their home, and when it’s untidy more than usual, and even the lawn is overgrown, they might not have the strength to handle the tasks any more.
These are signs their health is deteriorating, when such physically involved jobs are hard to manage. The most probable causes are physical impairments, dementia, or other illnesses. It would be best if you had a specific diagnosis to understand the health issues.
Weight Loss or Gain
If your parents have rapidly lost or gained weight, and it’s not because they have been trying to, they probably have health conditions that need to be addressed. When my grandfather was not doing well, he rapidly lost weight due to not eating because his taste buds just weren’t working well any more. And then when my grandmother with Alzheimer’s was further along in the disease, she would eat more than usual because she would forget that she had eaten and put on lots of weight. Illnesses, difficulty cooking, loss of smell or taste, and social issues can make it challenging to prepare and eat healthy food options leading to weight loss or gain. If you notice a big swing on their scale or appearance be sure to discuss this with their doctor.
As your parents age, you will realize that they need help taking care of the most basic tasks such as bathing and eating. Eventually you may have to have someone taking care of them 24/7. When you notice any of these signs of deteriorating health in aging parents, it’s time to set and appointment with their doctor. You might also want to arrange how to take care of their errands such as shopping. But most importantly, show them a lot of love and care.
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