September 30, 2014
He’s been your partner for decades. She’s been your companion for years. Lately, though, you’ve noticed changes. Perhaps your husband forgets words and dates more often, or your wife seems more weary and withdrawn. Age can make many of us feel worn out after going to the store or forget where we left our keys, but some changes can signal a more serious problem. A time may come when your spouse needs you to be more than a partner; he or she might need a caregiver as well.
Does your spouse take medications? Many seniors do, but with the use of prescription drugs comes the risk of abuse or adverse interactions. Early dementia could cause your husband or wife to forget medications or accidently overdose on them. So if your spouse appears lethargic or confused, it may be because of a drug interaction. To ensure safe medication usage, you may need to manage the dosing schedule and hold onto prescriptions to stop unintentional mistakes.
Drug interactions can sometimes lead to unsafe situations. For instance, has your spouse ever forgotten to turn off the oven or stove? A bad drug interaction could make your husband or wife unsteady and cause a slip and fall accident as well. Also, take a look at the appearance of your house. Does it look as tidy as it normally would? Conditions such as dementia and depression can make it difficult for your spouse to remember or have the energy to do the dishes and dust the shelves.
A healthy diet can be difficult for seniors to maintain. With older age, taste diminishes and appetite can fade. The Department of Health and Human Services created a list of warning signs for spouses and other loved ones. Unexpected weight loss, which can happen if your spouse skips meals, might mean that he or she needs help. Poor hygiene is another sign. If your husband no longer bathes on a regular basis, or if your wife often forgets to change her clothes, it may be time to talk about your caregiving options.
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