Recognising Changes

Recognising Changes

Many older people will be managing one or more health conditions and may have been living with these diseases for a number of years. The person may have had some episodes of sickness and decline and even have spent some time in hospital dealing with a health crisis. Some older people may move into residential aged care to get the care and support they need to manage.

Decline may continue over time. is can make it hard to recognise that changes are occurring and that planning for further changes may be needed. me common things that may indicate things are changing are:

  • less interest in doing things they enjoyed before
  • changes in how they act and talk
  • less interest in food and eating
  • weight loss
  • not as physically active as previously
  • getting slower and less mobile
  • incontinence
  • problems swallowing.

The older person may also indicate that they see that they are not as well as before.

To help you recognise and monitor changes that may occur in an older person, you can use SPICT4ALL.

  • SPICT4ALL (317kb pdf) is a simpler version of the trustworthy SPICT (315kb pdf) tool that health and care professionals use to identify people who might benefit from better supportive and palliative care. This helps people to think ahead and to plan future care.
  • SPICT4ALL has less ‘medical’ language than SPICT and so makes sense to everyone.
  • SPICT4ALL and SPICT are free to use and can help with conversations with your GP or other health professionals.

Recognising that something is changing is a good prompt for getting some advice. Talking to your GP may help you both explore what is causing any change and have a conversation about the future. A new question builder available on healthdirect can help you you plan what you need to ask.

Page updated 12 January 2024