8 symptoms in old age that warrant attention


8 symptoms in old age that warrant attention
October 1 is International Day of Older persons.

Often old age comes with problems, and mostly health related. Many a times, we miss out on things that are obvious. Especially after those youthful days when one had the attitude of ‘come what may’. Here are some old age signs you should not miss out on, and seek immediate medical attention for.

Low mood 

Due to the many health problems at their age and the on and off aches and pains they experience, we expect a grumpy mood in most elders to be normal. However, that isn’t how it should be. If you notice your otherwise cheerful parent, elderly relative or neighbour appearing sullen, it’s worth probing further and also seeking medical advice if things remain unchanged for long. Elders could feel low or depressed due to loneliness, feeling of worthlessness or troubled relationships at home. Often these aspects are overlooked by them and their family as well. (Read: Ten sure-shot ways to age healthy)

Memory loss

We all forget things occasionally but this is one of the most common and challenging problems of the geriatric population world over. If the person forgets names of people who s/he regularly interacts with or memory of very recent events then it could be concerning. Forgetting things like where did they place something or why did they enter the room is normal. But if they lose the trail of a sentence during their speech or forget words it could be a sign of dementia.

Lack of care 

A sudden drop in the way your ageing parents dress or take care of the home should call for your attention. If you notice a lack of interest in bathing, brushing, dressing neatly then the reason should be probed. Also, if your parents have been living by themselves, keep checking on the condition of the house, especially the bathroom and the kitchen. The reason for this decline could be that they have lost confidence to manage on their own and it’s time they moved in with you or arrange for an outside support to help them with their daily chores. (Read: 56% elderly abused by their sons)

Loss of sensation

If your elderly parent is unable to taste excess salt in the food, or has hurt himself and isn’t feeling any pain it calls for serious attention. Some amount of sensory loss is normal and expected as you age but if this becomes a hindrance then it should be fixed. For instance, loss of hearing has to be fixed with a hearing aid even if it is only a partial loss. Loss of sensation of touch should be diagnosed by an expert and treated. If not it could lead to accidents as the person may use too hot water in the bath or touch a hot utensil in the kitchen causing a burn and not even be aware of it.

Loss of appetite 

Again just like children are fussy about the foods they eat, elderly become picky about foods and their appetite changes and reduces from what it used to be. If this is due to dental problems such as caries or absence of teeth, it could be fixed and normal appetite can be restored. However if the loss of appetite is due to indigestion, inability to procure or cook foods of their liking or a general loss of interest due to loneliness or depression, these concerns need to be addressed separately. They may also have a lack of taste which may make all foods taste bland. 


One of the biggest challenges in the elderly is to prevent a fall. Like children, the elderly are very prone to falls and with weak bones they are at higher risk of fractures and head injuries. If balance is not good, physiotherapy exercises can help to restore balance. Home environment plays an important role in fall prevention.

Loss of control in urine and stool

Loss of control over urine is a common problem with the elderly. In men it can be due to prostate, and in women it can be due to stress incontinence. It can happen as a result of an illness like pneumonia as well. A quick discussion, during the doctor’s visit, on this is very important to prevent emergencies like acute retention of urine. Due to embarrassment your parents may not disclose this complaint to you, so look for signs such as soiled clothes or bed linen.

Making the home safe for the elderly

Encourage them to wear shoes that fit properly and wear non-slip footwear while at home
Wipe spills immediately, do not leave it for later
If possible, opt for non-polished floors
Leave on the lights in the bathroom and passages
Use door locks that can be opened from both sides in bathrooms and bedrooms
Keep emergency phone numbers written in big bold fonts, and stick it near the phone
Keep a fire extinguisher handy at home
Clean bathrooms regularly to avoid slipping
Install and use hand rails in bathrooms
Remove rugs to avoid tripping over
Use bright lights
Keep an emergency lamp near the bed.
In the kitchen
Keep kitchen floors uncluttered
Stick ‘On’ and ‘Off’ position stickers on electrical appliances written in bright colours
Keep sharp objects in one rack
Use labels for items that are kept in opaque boxes
Keep cleaning materials tightly closed and away from food materials
Use cotton clothing and aprons while cooking
Check expiry dates of packaged food.
There’s a lot you can do for the elders of your family and community to make them feel comfortable, wanted and secure. But the best thing you can give them is some of your time, spent meaningfully with them. (Read: International Day of Older Persons: Living old age with dignity)



ways to make your Parents Happy

The parents now a days are quite worried about the behavioral changes in their children due to several socio-economical reasons. The gap between parents and�us, the youth,�is increasing day by day due to which the family bonding is getting weaker and weaker.�We, the youth, want liberty in every deed we do. We want our parents�not to be disturb�us in what-ever�we do�in what-so-ever manner.�We have�forgotten the amount of time�our parents have invested in for�our brought up.�We have forgotten the countless efforts and sacrifices by�our parents throughout our lives.�
Starting from our birth they have taken care of our food (  years * 365 days * 3 times = 24000 times!), our clothes (daily washing, ironing, new purchasing), our education (daily home works, uniform, school/tuition fee), religious moral teaching every day (THE REAL GREAT JOB), computer toys purchasing and God knows how many other countless efforts they have put in to make us a complete human being�to survive in this world. Indeed, all those efforts�cannot be covered in this article but the overall emphasis is that its our moral and�religious�mandatory responsibility�to take care of them now.
Below are some small�acts of kindness which I request you to consider to show your affection with them and to take care of them:

  1. Give them enough money so that they don’t have to ask you.
  2. Share funny and entertaining things with them to make them laugh or smile.
  3. Don’t speak loudly. Speak slowly, nicely�and softly.
  4. Do not walk in front of them in market or anywhere. They might walk slow being old; stay behind them. Give them respect.
  5. Ask for small tasks again and again. For example, “Abou Jee, do you need water? Should i bring tea for you? Are you hungry, baba” etc�
  6. Closely monitor thier health. visit doctor if required. Have them thorougly checked time to time.
  7. Take care of their medicines. Set reminders on your phone for their medicines and�serve them on time.
  8. Take them to the mosque. Walk slowly. Follow their pace.
  9. Take them to the park�for walk. If not possible daily, then take them on weekend.
  10. Do not call them by their name. Call them with respect.
  11. Open the door for them with respect
  12. Adapt yourself according to�their�schedule not vise versa.
  13. Do shopping for them (buy their clothes, shoes, small items like tooth paste).� Buy your mother a nice coffee cup. Take them to market and buy them according to their likings. Buy your parents some nice books; usually people love to read books in old age.
  14. When you come back to home, visit them first in their room.
  15. Respect thier social circle and let them enjoy with their friends.� Article written by Junaid.Tahir
  16. In case of conflict on any issue, try to follow them as much as possible. Remember, they have been sacrificing their money and time in raising you for years and years. Its time to pay back. They have been showing all the patience during your childhood. Its time for you to be patient.
  17. Keep them with you instead of sending them�to old houses etc. This will be a big act of ignorance if you do.
  18. When starting the food, serve them first.
In the end, I would recommend�making a check list of this email and and paste it on any wall in your room or kitchen and read it often to remember
Please do share if you are doing any other good thing in making your parents feel great 🙂