How do I look after elderly parents with behavioural problems?
As your parents get older, you might start to see a change in their personalities.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for elderly behaviour changes, there are a number of ways you might nip them in the bud.
Have a heart-to-heart about the challenges you’re both facing
Establish a cool-off technique for when situations get heated
Get a medical professional involved
If you’re struggling with caring for elderly parents, you might also want to consider taking on round-the-clock support in the home. And, as the UK’s leading specialists of live-in care, we can find you someone in as little as one day.
Why do elderly parents go through behaviour changes?
Old age may bring wisdom, but it brings all sorts of other challenges, too.
These challenges – from reduced mobility to hearing loss – can be a frustrating experience for elderly parents. After all, the more they’re held back by physical problems, the less independent they’re able to be. Little wonder, then, they might start to take their impatience out on those around them.
But elderly behaviour problems might also come about as a result of a cognitive impairment – a stroke, for example, or dementia. If you’ve seen changes in the way your loved one is behaving, it’s worth going to speak to a medical professional. They may be able to identify a condition which has, up until now, simply flown under the radar.
Whatever the cause of these elderly behaviour changes, there are a number of ways to manage them a little better. Let’s take a closer look at how.
Ask for help
If you’re having a hard time, there’s no need to go it alone.
Ask for help from a live-in carer, and they’ll move into your elderly parent’s home to give them round-the-clock support. From changing bulbs to night-time assistance, they’re happy to help with whatever needs doing. And because they offer one-on-one care, they’re able to give your loved ones their undivided attention.
You can work with a live-in carer however best suits you. So if you still want to be hands on with caring for your elderly parent, they’ll be there to help when you need it. Or if you’d rather leave them to the bigger jobs, you can just focus on the fun parts: getting out and about, having a catch-up and so on.
If the elderly behaviour problems are diagnosed as a symptom of dementia, live-in care can help there, too. For one thing, there are carers who specialise in complex medical conditions such as dementia. And for another, there’s no need to move your parents to a care home and away from the place they know and love.
Open up a dialogue
This one’s simple: just put the kettle on and be honest with your elderly parents.
It can be difficult to have a productive conversation when emotions are running high. So rather than waiting until things start to boil over, speak to them at one of their quieter moments. Take the opportunity to tell them how you’re feeling, and encourage them to do the same.
There are a few things to bear in mind when talking to your elderly parents. Be as straightforward as possible, so there’s no risk of things getting lost in translation. Keep distractions to a minimum, otherwise you risk losing their attention. And remember to frame your discussion in a positive way, so they never feel you’re getting at them.
The more you communicate, the better you’ll understand each other. And the better you understand each other, the less likely you are to come to blows. After all, they may just be struggling to express themselves – or they may not even realise their behaviour has become a problem at all.
Find a cool-down technique
There’s no better way to stop an argument in its tracks than with a technique which, quite literally, stops an argument in its tracks.
So what’s the magic technique? Well, that depends on you. Maybe you’ll want to walk out of the room for two minutes as soon as things start go sour. Maybe you’ll make a cup of tea or switch on the TV to distract your elderly parents. Or maybe it’s as simple as counting from one to ten in your head. Do whatever works for you, as long as it disrupts the moment.
With time, you’ll get better at noticing the warning signs of a mood swing. And as you do, you’ll become quicker and more adept at using a technique like these to head it off at the pass.
There is a noticeable difference in my Mother since we started with Elder
“The security and patience of live-in care has meant my mother has relaxed and her general disposition has improved to no end.”
Speak to a medical professional
Remember, a GP may be able to spot red flags in these elderly behaviour changes that you can’t.
If that’s the case, they may be able to recommend medication that will help remedy a condition, or suggest tests that’ll help put a name to it. Alternatively, they may not see anything medically wrong at all, and instead propose some simple lifestyle changes which could make all the difference.
Whatever their diagnosis, it an ideal first step in caring for elderly parents with behaviour problems. You’ll be given further advice on what to do next, and gain expert insight into where you might look for further help and support. Even if there are tough decisions to come, this is a strong foundation to start on.
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