Failure to Thrive
Often mistaken for the natural process of aging, failure to thrive is perhaps the most common medical diagnosis for seniors. The wide scope of this diagnosis makes this process the predecessor of many dangerous infections, wounds, and diseases. Failure to thrive is generally a slow degenerative process that occurs when an aged individual purposely or unwittedly creates poor health conditions his/her body is unable to overcome. Failure to thrive is often a mixed bag of persistent conditions, such as poor nutrition, improper use of medication, unaddressed chronic pain, or depression. The result is loss of health. Abrupt changes in routine, multiple emergency room runs, poor hygiene, loss of interest in hobbies and socialization, and lack of appetite can all be signs of the chronic failure to thrive. Families should be aware of the lifestyle standards, practices and interests of loved ones, so they can more easily detect changes in behavior, patterns, or interest that may indicate problems as their loved one ages. Intervention for failure to thrive can include seeing a physician for a medication review, setting up meals, providing transportation to social outlets or more frequent check ins. In serious cases, individuals struggling with failure to thrive require supervision and assistance in their homes or a facility. If you suspect your loved one is failing to thrive, consult his/her doctor in your concerns or implement a routine to assist or supervise your loved one with those areas that are directly affecting his/her health.