Aging comes with a variety of physical and emotional changes. These can lead to behavioral changes in your loved one. Not many people anticipate these changes and thus, they end up worried and confused about what to do to help their loved one cope. It is important to understand elderly behavior which may present itself certain ways.
Behavioral Changes Common in the Elderly
- Forgetfulness – this may range from occasionally having trouble remembering a name, forgetting why they walked into a room or where they placed their keys. However, it might get to the extent of language difficulty and poor judgement which signals a deeper medical issue.
- Low mood – seniors often experience loss of peers and loved ones, which leaves them feeling low and isolated. They can also feel persistent sadness that affects their sleep, energy level and appetite.
- Anger and irritability – their declining health often leaves them frustrated. They may direct their anger towards those around them. If not checked, this can result in depression or other psychological conditions.
- Inability to grasp new concepts – it is normal for seniors to have a decline in short term memory. This means they learn and retain new information slower than they did when they were younger. They may attempt to maintain their mental alertness by reading and taking various classes.
What Families Can Do to Help their Loved One to Deal with Aging
Seniors need the support of their families to deal with the changes that come with old age. In order to create a supportive and conducive environment, families can:
- Get their loved ones evaluated by a physician to ascertain what’s normal – when certain changes like forgetfulness become extreme, it is always best to seek help to determine which measures can be taken.
- Keep elders engaged in daily family activities – the feeling of isolation as one grows older can be dealt with by staying active and getting a sense of belonging.
- Avoid medication that may be counterproductive – sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medication such as Xanax can easily cause an elderly person to become withdrawn, depressed and accident prone.
- Talk to them about the changes – instead of sweeping the changes under the rug, it is helpful to talk to loved ones about what they are going through and how they feel about it. Showing them empathy will make them feel loved and cared for.
- Hire a caregiver – your family dynamic may not allow you to care for a senior completely. With work, kids and much more going on, it can be hard on you to cater to all the needs of an aging person. The services of an in-home care agency will come in handy to relieve you.
Aging can be a harsh reality on your loved ones. It might cause anxiety and depression. It is important for families to reach out to their elderly relatives, make them feel wanted and involve them in day to day activities.
Whether living in the South Bay community or elsewhere, families can get help with caring for their loved one from in-home care services in Palos Verdes. Contact A Peaceful Way Home Care to learn about our compassionate care.