Some of us lived in town and several family members lived either out of town or in another state. When there’s distance, there is also a difference in perspective. The family members living in town notice a gradual change in their loved one and experience whatever problems arise on a day-to-day basis. Then the holidays arrive, people visit and BAM, the phone calls begin… “I had no idea dad had aged so much!”
The family member living nearest has found a routine and things are working – or not – and it’s difficult for the family members and friends living farther away. There are emotional and even legal issues that sometimes arise at this time, but beyond that it’s a wake up call to the health of your loved one.
If you’re noticing changes in your loved one’s health, large or small, it’s worth having a conversation with them and other family members. It’s also a good idea to have them checked over by a medical professional. A medical professional is able to help you and your loved one determine which health changes are normal as we age and which are signs or symptoms of something more seriouc.
A first step to recognizing declining health is observing the changes in your loved one. Some changes to look for that could signal a health issue would be:
- Loss of weight
- Paleness/color changes (could be yellow, dark, light)
- Unkempt appearance
- Changes in breathing
A source on aging and health issues is Medline Plus: A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine from the National Institutes of Health. They can be found at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/seniorshealth.html