We lose our physical, cognitive and mental abilities to at least some extent with age, but that does not happen in the same way for everyone. There are those who might need assisted living conditions before the age of sixty, and then are there are individuals who hardly seem to need any assistance even at seventy. This is what makes it important for people around the elderly to take note of some common signs associated with a decreasing ability to live independently. Look for the following signs, rather than relying on how old they are numerically.
Rapid Weight Loss without Sickness
Weight loss is often a natural result of suffering from an infection, whether you are old or not. However, when an elderly person loses weight rapidly and without any apparent cause, it could be a sign of dehydration and malnutrition. Both these effects are common in elderly individuals who are forgetting to eat and drink sufficiently on a daily basis. Malnutrition could also be caused by their inability to cook for themselves anymore.
A Home in Disrepair
If you find their home to be getting unusually dirty and disorderly, it could be because:
- They are physically unable to keep up with the maintenance needs of a home.
- They are simply forgetting to take notice of the pending chores and repairs.
- A combination of the two mentioned above.
Sit down with your elderly family member(s) and discuss the proposition of them shifting to an assisted living facility like the Anthology of Meridian Hills, where they won’t even have to care about such chores.
Signs of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is an incurable, neurodegenerative disease that can be managed and slowed down when addressed at an early stage. However, if the elderly individual is showing common signs of Alzheimer’s Disease, then they should really consider living in an assisted facility. Living alone is not an option for those who have been clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Everybody loses a significant bit of their memory and recall power with age, so age related memory loss should not be mistaken as Alzheimer’s. Look out for signs such as:
- Memory loss that affects their ability to complete regular tasks independently
- Inability to recognize people close to them and remember where they placed something
- Significant changes in personality and behavior
- Loss of chronological, spatial and visual perception of reality; believing that the present year is not what it says on the calendar, for example
- Dynamic mood shifts akin to bipolar disorder and confusion
- Several repetitions of the same, previously answered questions
If you do notice signs and there is reason to believe that your loved one needs more assistance than they would like to admit, do not immediately make the decision for them. As long as they are mentally capable, you need to present your observations as they are. Make it a discussion, involving only those that are closest to that person. Even if they are losing their mental faculties, it is important never to make it sound like a judgement.