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Five Ways to Spot Dental Issues if Your Senior Is Non-verbal

Caring for an elderly family member who can’t or who doesn’t speak can be troubling, because you’re left to feel as if you’re constantly taking a stab in the dark. With dental pain, you’re looking for sometimes very subtle cues.

She’s Not Eating as Much

Elderly Care Upper Darby, PA: Dental Issues and Seniors

Your first and biggest sign of dental issues might be that your elderly family member isn’t eating as much as she used to eat. Or, when she does eat, she might only eat softer foods or foods that she can swallow without chewing as much. If she’s unable to chew well, she might try to swallow bites of food that are too big and that can lead to choking.

She Rubs or Holds Her Face
Your senior might start to hold her face on the side where she’s experiencing the most pain. Touching or rubbing the area might be somewhat soothing to her temporarily, which is why she’s doing it. The more intense the pain becomes, the more she might be doing this.

She Grimaces or Flinches When Something Touches Her Face
Sometimes, though, dental pain can be so excruciating that your senior doesn’t want anything touching her face or jaw. If you’re noticing that she grimaces or flinches when something does come near her face, that might be your indication that something is not right. You might notice swelling in the same area, too.

She Won’t Wear Dentures
For seniors who already wear dentures, partial dentures, or other appliances, putting those in and using them might be too painful. Dentures might rub against her gums, creating pain and sore spots. If your elderly family member suddenly won’t use these tools, it’s worth a trip to the dentist to sort out what’s going on.

She’s Restless or She Makes Sounds
Your elderly family member might not be verbal, but she may make sounds or be more restless than she usually is if she’s experiencing pain. The vocalizing might be difficult for you because you’re not sure what’s causing it, especially if she’s not giving you any visual indications where she’s experiencing the pain.

Keeping up with your senior’s cues and needs as a caregiver is difficult as it is, but that’s all compounded if your elderly family member is non-verbal. Cognitive changes she experiences can make all that feel impossible on your own. Elderly care providers can help you to learn to spot even subtle signs you might have overlooked.


Excerpt: It’s difficult to know for sure when your senior is having trouble, especially if she can’t tell you.


If you or an aging loved one are considering Elderly Care in Upper Darby, PA, please contact the caring staff at True Direct Home Health Care today.

Perry C. Doc Alleva, Owner & Administrator

Owner & Administrator at True Direct Home Health Care
True Direct HHC owner and administrator, Perry C. Doc Alleva has been in the health care community for over 10 years as a therapy solutions provider, as well as a home care services coordinator. He has extensive experience in caring for the disabled and the surgical acute, sub-acute, and rehab population. Rooted in his home-town city of Philadelphia, with strong ties to it's vast neighborhoods and communities, he's now focusing all his energies towards innovating the home health care agency's role in providing the essential care needed from individual to the family throughout the community.

Doc, as he is called by everyone - staff, patients and clients - first experienced home health care and hospice care while as a colleg student at King's College as he cared for his mother every day while she first battled COPD and then lung cancer. It was during this time that he came to understand that caring for a patient was more than just clinical expertise.

"Admittedly, my strongest attribute is my communication skills and the simple fact that I love to help people. Even the smallest thing you can do for someone really can mean so much to them long term. In fact, it could change them forever. That's what providing quality personal home health care should be all about."

In his spare time, he cooks for homeless shelters and children's music and arts events. He also is highly involved in his local youth sports soccer academy as a coach and Board member.

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