Family Matters: Warning Signs of Health Problems in Aging Loved Ones

      Concerned about your aging parents' health? Chester North, MD, Clinic Physician for Providence ElderPlace at Irvington Village joined us to share some warning signs of health problems. Use this guide, and your holiday visit, to gauge how your aging parents are doing and what to do if they need help.

      1. Have they lost weight? They might have trouble cooking, have lost the sense of taste or smell (sometimes due to medications) or have underlying health concerns that cause weight loss.
      2. Are they taking care of themselves? Has their personal hygiene and/or cleanliness changed? Is the house/apartment being maintained? Are the bills paid on time? Problems with activities of daily living often are first signs they need help.
      3. Are they safe in their home? Take a look around your parents' home, keeping an eye out for any red flags. Do your parents have difficulty navigating a narrow stairway? Has either parent fallen recently? Are they able to read directions on medication containers?
      4. Are your aging parents in good spirits? Do they seem happy? A drastically different mood or outlook could be a sign of depression or other health concern. Are they connecting with friends doing the things they used to do socially?
      5. Are they having difficulty getting around? Pay attention to how your parents are moving and walking. Would either parent benefit from a cane or walker? If your parents are unsteady on their feet, they may be at risk of falling a major cause of disability among older adults.

      Taking action:

      • Share your concerns with your parents.
      • Encourage regular medical checkups.
      • Address safety issues in the home.
      • Consider home care services.
      • Contact their doctor for guidance.
      • Seek help from local agencies.

      For more information on Elder Safety visit our Family Matters webpage.