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?
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:
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.
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 www.seniorcarelifestyles.com.