A Medical Checklist For Elderly Parents
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As we watch our parents grow older, we will notice their bodies going through a normal aging process. We may see them encounter limitations that were virtually unheard of in their younger years. It is very easy to automatically attribute these changes to the aging process. However, some of these signs could in actuality be masking a very real medical concern.
If you have suspicions your parents are not being totally truthful about their health, it may help to observe them more closely. Many times the symptoms associated with early stages of many illnesses and diseases in the elderly are simply overlooked. Here are some warning signs that may indicate a medical problem:
Tiredness: Do you see your parents becoming fatigued more easily? Are they sleeping too little or not enough?
Stiffness: Have your parents complained of stiff joints or pain in their arms, legs, fingers?
Diet: Have your parents changed their diet drastically? Are they eating significantly more or less?
Thirst: Have you noticed your parents complaining about excessive thirst?
Eyesight: Are they squinting at the television set or holding a book or magazine far away from their face?
Memory: Have your parents become excessively forgetful? Have you noticed short or long term memory loss?
Hygiene: Have your parents stopped caring about their hygiene? Are they bathing regularly? Are they brushing their teeth?
Bathroom: Are your parents going to the bathroom more frequently? Do they go less frequently?
Skin: Has your parents’ skin color changed? Is their skin more sensitive, and appear to be red, dry and flaky?
Hearing: Do your parents seem to have difficulty hearing you? Have they complained of earaches?
Headaches: Are your parents experiencing headaches or migraines?
These are only some signs in an elderly parent that should be taken seriously. Sometimes, talking about medical concerns with an elderly parent can be extremely difficult. Some elderly people do not like to discuss their health because they could be harboring a phobia about seeing a doctor. Fear of the unknown is a great immobilizer and when it comes to fear of one’s own health, it can be the one factor that prevents someone from staying healthy.
Don’t let your parents’ fear put them in jeopardy of seeking medical attention. If they still refuse to see a doctor, call the doctor yourself and describe the symptoms you have noticed. If you have a family member in the medical field you can also speak to that person and ask for advice. Sometimes, gentle persuasion over a period of time, with constant reassurances of your assistance, will make your parent change his mind about seeking medical attention. If your concerns turn out to be without merit, it still will have been well worth the effort for your parent to be given a clean bill of health. And if a medical problem is found, having caught it in the early stages could make all the difference.