What are the psychological effects on the elderly in elderly home care? It is not easy to find care for an elderly parent or relative. It’s time-consuming, frustrating, and emotionally draining, but it has to be done. Here are the top psychological effects on the elderly in elderly home care.
Anger can be one of the most difficult emotions to manage in the family dynamic. Especially with an elderly individuals who may not always understand their situation or participate fully in their own care without assistance.
Sometimes anger manifests itself as agitation, aggressiveness, irritability, and mood swings that may be frightening for caregivers and children alike. The best way to handle this emotion is by staying calm yourself; steer clear of blame (for both you and your loved one) even if they are “at fault.”
Anxiety is another common response to being in an unfamiliar environment with little control over their surroundings. It can be hard for seniors to adjust to the added responsibility of caring for themselves. Especially when they are already dealing with physical limitations that make tasks like showering, eating, and dressing difficult.
Acknowledge your loved one’s anxiety, but do not allow it to derail bedtime or meal routines. Offer them small choices whenever possible.
Being confined against your will is never easy on anyone. But depression can hit older adults especially hard due to pre-existing health problems. This may include organ failure or dementia-related symptoms like memory loss and confusion.
If your loved one is exhibiting signs of depression (a persistent feeling of sadness and emptiness, increased appetite or weight gain, trouble sleeping, lack of concentration) encourage them to talk with their doctor about possible antidepressants that may help stabilize moods without causing undue side effects.
It’s always difficult for an older person to be separated from friends and family. But this often becomes more pronounced in later life when mobility issues. This may make it harder for seniors to maintain regular contact with people they care about.
Since there are few things worse than feeling forgotten by the ones you love, make sure your elderly parent or relative has access to phone service so they can call their loved ones on a regular basis.
Family dynamics can be difficult for anyone, but guilt can become particularly problematic when caring for an elderly person. Many seniors feel guilty about asking their children to take on the burden of caregiving, while adult children often feel guilty that they cannot do more or do it better.
The best way to get past feelings of guilt is by talking openly with each other and agreeing upon care routines that work for everyone involved. It’s also important not to over-schedule your time as a caregiver—leave some free time in your schedule so you have room to unwind and relax. No one should have to sacrifice sleep or a social life just because they are caring for another human being!
Some older adults give up on their care routine simply out of frustration. Especially if they’ve been dealing with mobility issues for several years and find little reason to keep fighting. This can be a dangerous time for your loved one. Because apathy can lead to decreased movement and physical activity that only furthers the deterioration process.
If this happens, try re-focusing them on their activities of daily living. You can do this by taking them for walks around the neighborhood or encouraging them to play cards again.
Social isolation is a common side effect of caring for an elderly parent or relative. Especially if the caregiver has young children that need attention. Unfortunately, senior citizens can also begin to withdraw from society and become increasingly lonely without frequent social contact.
Before feelings of isolation get out of control, encourage your loved one to join support groups related to chronic diseases they may be struggling with. (ex: fibromyalgia, arthritis, and heart disease.)
Check with their doctor to see what sort of exercise classes would be best suited for them. (For example, swimming may not provide enough resistance training while cardiovascular activity can increase the risk for arrhythmia).
It’s easy for anyone involved in an elder care routine to become over-reliant on the caregiver. Especially in cases where the senior must rely on someone else for their day-to-day needs. While it’s necessary for older folk to accept some responsibility when they become ill or compromised, this doesn’t mean that they need to be independent at all times.
Sometimes, asking for help with everyday tasks is just fine. Take time out of your schedule to sit down with your loved ones and come up with a plan that allows them to continue caring for themselves without compromising their quality of life.
As we age, our bodies begin breaking down, and sometimes, there are simply no medical solutions available to deal with a particular condition (ex: Alzheimer’s disease). This can lead to feelings of dependency and loss of independence.
Unfortunately, this is often when family dynamics become strained because older adults want nothing more than to regain their independence while children worry about their parent’s safety. Empowering your loved ones with decision-making abilities can help them maintain some sense of control over their lives—check out these tips for empowering seniors.
If you or your senior citizen relative haven’t come up with a plan for their potential future, they may begin feeling hopeless when the aging process begins taking its toll.
To avoid feelings of helplessness and depression, encourage your loved ones to keep active in hobbies they enjoy (ex: playing card games) and regularly check in with them when you visit to see how they’re coping with their illness or if there’s anything you can do to help.
If you feel overwhelmed or at a loss on what to do next, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help from elder care specialists who can provide additional guidance through this difficult time period. For more information about caring for senior citizens, be sure to check out our articles on arthritis management, weight loss challenges that seniors face and how to make life easier for seniors.