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Elderly Care: Recognizing and Treating the Most Common Undiagnosed Senior Illnesses

When it comes to senior ailments, depression and vitamin deficiencies are more common then you'd think, and often go unnoticed by relatives and friends providing care. When providing elderly care for your senior loved one, the following information may be helpful and prove useful for identifying common senior ailments. To detect and treat depression and vitamin deficiencies, elderly care providers encourage you to review the following symptoms and ensure the health and safety of your loved one.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms: This deficiency is a highly treatable health condition but can be difficult to recognize, as its symptoms are often identical to symptoms of dementia, senile dementia, and Alzheimers. 20% of individuals over the age of 65 have low levels of Vitamin B12. Ensure your loved one is receiving enough vitamin B12 in his or her diet so that he or she can have an active and healthy life.

Providing Elderly Care: Signs and Symptoms of a Vitamin B12 Deficient Diet:

  • Has your loved one lost his/her appetite?
  • Do they frequently suffer from fatigue, weakness, or shortness of breath?
  • Have they complained about a sore mouth/tongue?
  • Do they often experience numbness or tingling in the hands or feet?
  • Do they appear pale?

Vitamin B12 can cause a change of mental state in very advanced cases, and is often confused with dementia. However, deficiencies of B12 and folic acid may contribute to the onset of Alzheimer's or other similar dementias.

B12 rich foods include eggs, cheese, meats such as lamb and beef, shellfish and seafood (crab and lobster), fish, and liver. B12 is found in most animal products and vitamin supplements are largely available.

Elderly care services, provided by experienced caregivers are available 24 hours a day for elderly individuals to remain in their own home and improve the quality of their lives. Elderly care services provide aging loved ones with meal preparation and diet monitoring services to ensure health and well being.

Providing Elderly Care: Depression: Signs and Symptoms: Depression is one of the most underdiagnosed conditions amongst seniors, and can significantly effect their quality of life. These signs go unnoticed or ignored because doctors find more "important" medical problems in elderly patients. Depression is often dismissed as a normal part of life and aging, even though this isn't always the case, and it can be severe enough to interfere with daily life. Consider the following signs and symptoms of depression, and remember everyone experiences them differently:

  • Have you noticed that your loved one seems to be in a sad or "empty" mood?
  • Have you noticed a significant decrease/increase in their appetite?
  • Does he/she sleep too much? Or not sleep enough?
  • Do they appear to have lost interest in activities they enjoy?
  • Do they have difficulty concentrating, decision-making, or remembering things?
  • Do they appear fatigued or have low energy?
  • Has your loved one been thinking about death or suicide?

If your loved one is experiencing those symptoms, they may require a thorough physical exam to ensure they aren't experiencing problems with medications or undiagnosed illnesses.

Depression can be alleviated with medication, or any number of treatments, including in home care and elderly care services. Experienced caregivers are available to provide in home care, 24 hours a day to allow elderly individuals to remain in their own home and improve the quality of their lives, with joyful companionship, meal preparation and diet monitoring services, errands and shopping, and may other services. Learn more about how an individualized elderly care program to improve the life and health of your loved one.

Bio: Erica Ronchetti is a freelance writer for Visiting Angels, the nation's leading, network of non-medical, private duty home care agencies providing senior care, elder care, personal care, respite care and companion care to help the elderly and adults continue to live in their homes across America. Visit the Visiting Angels website to find out more information on elderly care programs.

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.