These days, reaching your seventies isn’t such a huge milestone. We’re fitter and healthier post-retirement than ever before. Many people this age choose to remain working to boost their pensions, or simply to stay connected to the world. They’re still babysitting, lending us money, and putting on an excellent holiday feast. Why would we worry?
Of course, the body and the mind are still aging, regardless of the time and effort, we put into preserving our health. You don’t have to wait until your parent actually falls and breaks a hip to hear the alarm bells that something is off. Watch them as they get up from the couch. Muscle loss is common in our retirement years. Extra exercise to maintain good tone is essential to ensure rising from and lowering to a seated position is controlled. If you see anything that doesn’t look entirely right, recommend a senior’s exercise class you think they might enjoy.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s are two of the scariest words around when we think about our parents. These conditions are currently incurable, and they lead to a rapid degeneration of independence. Spotting the early signs can help you both to make a plan that suits the situation before accidents occur. Regular difficulty in finding the right words can be a sign of cognitive changes. We all know that forgetting things that happened earlier is also a warning sign. If your parent is also struggling with common everyday tasks, it’s time to ask for some help.
Start with your parent’s doctor. They can order specialist tests to determine the extent of the problem if there is one. If a diagnosis is confirmed, you can then seek support from places like an assisted living memory care specialist center. Ultimately your parent is going to want as much independence and dignity as is possible. This isn’t always best served by their closest family members.
The body does go through a lot of changes as we age. These include the common signs of aging like gray hairs and wrinkles. However, sudden changes in appearance like puffy eyes, weight loss, brown spots, or a yellowy tinge to the skin are not signs of aging. They can instead be signs of a more serious problem, perhaps with internal organs. Only a doctor can determine if anything is wrong, so encourage your relative to make a check-up appointment. Ask if you can tag along if you’re worried.
It’s perfectly normal to worry about your relatives that are reaching those years of experience. Try to put plans in place that you can all agree to. After all, some people are fiercely independent and don’t want you interfering. Why not keep a diary of things you notice?