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Unexplained weight loss and elder neglect

If your loved one is in an assisted living facility, it is important to watch out for signs of neglect. Remember that the elderly do not always have the ability to communicate to others any issues in the facility, due to either mental or physical difficulties. Your first indication that something is wrong may be a sign that you observe in the resident or the facility itself.

One potential red flag is unexplained weight loss. Is your loved one getting enough to eat? Are they being fed meals on time, every day? Do they get proper nutrition? Extensive weight loss can be very dangerous and even fatal at this age, and it may also be an indicator of other underlying problems.

Of course, you must keep in mind that there are plenty of reasons beyond neglect for weight loss in the elderly. A few of them include:

  • Celiac disease
  • Cancer
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Diabetes
  • Dementia
  • Crohn's disease
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Overactive or underactive thyroid

However, just because your loved one has one of these disorders does not mean they are not being neglected by the staff as well. For instance, perhaps they are diagnosed with celiac disease, but the staff overlooks that and does not feed them meals that they can actually digest properly. This can lead to weight loss and all manner of other health problems that could easily be avoided with proper care.

If you think that you see some of the warning signs of neglect, it is important to know what steps to take and to act quickly.

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