How to Notice Signs of Functional Decline in Seniors

Many of us used the recent holidays as an opportunity to connect with friends and family and catch up. However, while you were enjoying time with your loved ones, you might have noticed some changes that have you concerned. What are some of the signs of functional decline in older adults, and what should you do?

Know the Signs of Functional Decline

Functional decline does not just mean a loss of physical capabilities but also a potential loss of cognitive function. This can include many different things, from more trouble breathing after walking up the steps to confusion about what date it is. Some of the signs of functional decline include:

  • Changes in posture or gait
  • Poor coordination
  • Exhaustion
  •  Pain or soreness
  • Visible signs of injury
  • Decreased mobility
  •  Lack of strength
  •  Mixing up words or being unable to remember a word
  • Confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Changes in self-care or housekeeping abilities
  • Changes in financial habits or spending
  • Unexplained or erratic behavior

How Can You Monitor Your Loved One?

It is always good to check in and take stock of how your loved one is doing. Many well-meaning relatives miss the signs because it can happen so gradually over a period of years. It is rare that someone goes from having an elephant’s memory to being unable to remember basic facts in only one year. Instead, this occurs over a very long period. Make a conscious effort to check in with your loved one and pay attention to how they perform in a variety of ways.

One way to start monitoring your senior loved one is by jotting down private notes about what things they struggle with over the course of the average week. Some of these things are to be expected, like walking if they have mobility challenges. However, others might give you insight into areas where decline is occurring. By taking notes every 3-6 months you’ll get a chance to compare them and see what might be happening.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to talk with your siblings and relatives about things that they have noticed. In many cases, a senior could benefit from professional assistance, but because everyone notices different things and keeps the incidents to themselves, the family does not intervene until much later. Open up lines of communication so that everyone understands how best to support your loved one.  

Support Your Loved Ones With Great Care with Senior Care Lifestyles

Senior Care Lifestyles specializes in connecting seniors with the right in-home care, assisted living, or senior living community to meet their needs. We have helped hundreds of clients and treat each senior as a valued member of our own family deserving our personalized attention, compassion and respect.

For help, or questions please call us at 410-977-3718 or send a message through our website

Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Owner, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA®) & Assisted Living Placement Specialist - Senior Care Lifestyles, LLC provides compassion, guidance and recommendations to families faced with transitioning a loved one into Assisted Living, Dementia/Alzheimer’s Care, Skilled Nursing, Temporary Respite Care or a Continuous Care Retirement Community. Senior Care Lifestyles was founded in 2014 by Deborah Bakalich, a Certified Senior Advisor and graduate from both Towson University and Stevenson. Senior Care Lifestyles is uniquely positioned as a local (not National) Maryland based placement firm familiar with Maryland senior care facilities and in-state financial assistance programs for senior residents. They meet personally with each family to understand the seniors care needs including medical, personal lifestyle preferences, budget, religion and desired geographic location. They pride themselves in locally guiding and educating families through the entire maze of senior living options available and will schedule tours on behalf of the family and accompany the family on visits of communities. They are passionate and committed to finding the perfect match to call home and stays with the family throughout the entire process, every step of the way, until a decision is made, and the senior is safely moved into their new home. Senior Care Lifestyles can also provide the family with trustworthy, vetted, and reputable experts to assist with the transition for organizing, packing, moving, sale of real estate, estate planning, legal services, and determining eligibility for State, Federal and Veterans Benefits to assist with care costs. Deborah is a proud member of the Maryland Senior Resource Network (MSRN) where she has served as Vice President on the Board of Directors. She is a member of the Alzheimer’s Organization, Society of Certified Senior Advisors, Mid-Atlantic Network Group and a member of the Business Opportunity Network (BON).

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