Worried about an elderly relative? Here’s what you should look out for
It can be upsetting when an elderly relative becomes old and frail. You worry about them all the time and feel guilty for not doing enough. While you might not be able to watch your elderly relative for every second of every day, it’s important to keep an eye out for health problems or injuries. This is especially important if your relative lives alone, but even those in care homes can experience injuries or ailments. So, what should you look out for?
What happens when you have a broken bone? For most of us, we’ll experience pain, swelling and a lack of stability. We expect to rest the bone for several weeks or months, but it will heal with time. For the elderly, however, a broken bone can be more serious. Their bones are weaker, and a break can easily lead to an infection or complication. If left untreated, an elderly person can die from a broken bone. So, if your elderly relative has had a fall or is experiencing bone pain, it’s important to go to the hospital as soon as possible. Don’t let it escalate.
Almost 40 percent of people over the age of 65 experience some form of memory loss. For some, it might not be anything serious. As we age, we become more forgetful. However, memory loss that disrupts daily life, such as cooking, cleaning or going outside might be more of an issue. It isn’t uncommon for elderly people to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s, or less commonly Parkinson’s. However, memory loss could also be caused by alcoholism, certain medications or head traumas. So never make assumptions. Catching memory loss early, whatever the cause, will make it easier to treat and might prevent it from worsening.
Pressure ulcers, commonly known as bed sores, are common in the elderly. They are an injury that affects the skin and underlying tissue, and are often caused by limited movement. While bed sores are not always a cause for alarm, and don’t necessarily indicate neglect, it’s important that they are treated properly. Soothe them with aloe-vera gel powder and clean them with saline water. If you are worried about neglect in care homes, do your research into your next steps.
Shortness of breath
Many elderly people have difficulty breathing. Common causes are the development of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or anxiety. While these are not life threatening, it’s important to make sure that your elderly relative is checked over by a doctor and given any medications that might help. Shortness of breath could also be a sign of more serious illnesses such as cancer, pneumonia or lung disease. So, get it checked out, ASAP.