Top Signs Your Aging Parent Needs a Medical Alert Device

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Published: 01st November 2012
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Aging can be insidious—it does not announce itself in a loud call or with a sign bearing big, bold letters. It creeps up on everyone’s lives, largely undetected. Often, the medical issues associated with aging become obvious only when the condition has become sufficiently serious to warrant a doctor’s attention. The problem, however, is that you cannot reliably depend on your aging parent to come forward and openly admit that they are increasingly becoming helpless. You may see some bruises on their leg or arm, and when you ask them, they would most often dismiss it with “It’s fine, honey. This is nothing.”

For such reasons, it is important to try to identify on your own certain tell-tale signs indicating whether your aging parent may need to use a medical alert device or any other medical or caregiver assistance. More often than not, such indications are easy to spot.

Physical weakness: If you’re still living with your aging parent, it is easy to recognize their increasing physical weakness. However, if you already have a family of your own and simply make an occasional weekend visit, you will have to be more discerning. Some obvious signs include the difficulty of the aging parent to get up from a seated position—they may try to hide it, but you can perhaps see the strain on their face. They may also “hobble” instead of walk normally. Watch out also for any sign of an impaired sense of balance and decreasing mobility. In serious cases, you will have to have your parent checked by a doctor to determine if there is any underlying medical condition, or if supportive devices are needed.

Noticeable neglect of once-common tasks: You have probably seen the odd news about the police authorities “discovering” how an elderly person’s house is literally brimming with all sorts of garbage. This may be an extreme case, but the more common manifestation of this warning sign is the presence of clutter around the house—dirty dishes that seem to have been in the sink for many days, thick dust or grease on the furniture, piles of dirty laundry, a mailbox overflowing with unchecked or unopened mail, late payment notices, bills, bounced checks, or anything else from the post. This seeming neglect is not at all voluntary—either the aging parent may be quietly suffering from a disorder or a medical condition or they are physically no longer up to the daily task of maintaining the cleanliness or neatness of the house. Either way, the aging parent may need assistance that can help them manage their daily life.

Worsening personal grooming habits: The aging parent may seem to have stopped caring, not only about their living space, but about their own personal cleanliness, as well. This is related to the above-mentioned warning sign regarding neglect of the upkeep of the living space. If your aging parent seems to have stopped brushing their teeth, trimming their nails, or seems to be exuding an unpleasant body odor, then such signs require a closer attention. Their seeming avoidance or neglect of even the basic personal grooming tasks such as showering or taking a bath may be due to an undiagnosed medical condition. Moreover, if you detect a strong smell of urine in the house—that dank, warm pungent smell that seems to emanate from everywhere—your aging parent may be already incontinent and may need your help.

Worsening forgetfulness: An aging parent’s worsening inability to remember even ordinary things can be frustrating not only for the senior, but also for their loved ones. Worse, while minor forgetfulness can be somehow amusing, significant inability to remember once-familiar tasks can be life-threatening—your aging parent might forget to shut off the gas or turn off the stove, or they might board a bus and find themselves in a totally unfamiliar place so far from home. Forgetfulness may be caused by a wide variety of cognitive impairment, and only a qualified doctor should be allowed to diagnose it.

The said signs are by no means representative of a complete list. There are many other warning signs that you should watch out for, and the caveat is that more often than not, it is all up to you to recognize them—you cannot expect your aging parent to identify them for you. The easiest means of providing round-the-clock assistance and protection for your aging parent is by the use of a medical alert device. However, it really depends on the specific situation—in other cases, your aging parent may need much more than that. The bottom line, however, is that you cannot afford to ignore these warning signs as they can lead to something far more serious.

Rescue Alert of California™ has been enabling senior citizens to live safe, happy and independent lives through education and quality medical alert devices for over a decade. They offer EMD certified responders available 24 hours a day, and the peace of mind that comes with knowing that help is available at the push of a button. To read the full article, please visit Top Signs Your Aging Parent Needs A Medical Alert Device

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