• Julie Katz

When not participating in a conversation is a sign of trouble.

Look for clues that can indicate problems

Have you ever noticed an older adult that was always engaged in conversation with a group of people and either suddenly or gradually they sit like a wallflower? This could indicate problems. Here are some possible causes:

1. Hearing problems. It is probably time to visit an audiologist.

2. Dementia. Not being able to follow a conversation could be a sign of early dementia. Visit your doctor.

3. Depression. Depression in the elderly is more common than you think. Don't ignore it.

4. Drug interaction. A new medicine may be causing side effects. Check with your doctor.

5. Lack of sleep. New medicines or a health condition can cause lack of sleep. Even if the person is sleeping eight hours, it doesn't mean that sleep is restorative.

Communication with the older adult and then consulting a health professional is important. Lack of participation in conversation is a symptom of something else. Don't ignore the signs.

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