Some seniors’ personalities may have leaned toward negativity their whole lives. But when adult children notice a sudden personality shift, one that is more negative, they should pay attention. Resolving a newly emerged negative attitude may be due to any number of treatable causes.
Aging brings along with it a whole set of frustrations. Mental and physical impairments can turn a once-cheerful parent into a chronic complainer. Adult children and caregivers should factor in these obstacles when providing care for an elderly parent who is constantly negative.
1. Prevent Social Isolation
Isolation and loneliness often plague seniors’ lives, leading to unhappiness and a continual need to express negativity. Depression is also closely linked with isolation. Symptoms of depression include mood swings, agitation, sadness, withdrawal and a loss of interest in activities.
Adult children who notice that an elderly parent feels lonely or isolated should take steps to remedy the problem. Spending more time with the loved one or hiring a companion caregiver are immensely beneficial to the senior’s emotional well-being and can promote positive feelings.
Companion caregivers understand how to build fulfilling relationships with elderly care recipients, thus warding off isolation and loneliness. These professionals engage in pleasant conversations with the elderly, play mentally stimulating games and support them during exercise, like walks in the park.
Companion caregivers provide transportation to senior centers, too, where the elderly have the opportunity to socialize with like-minded peers. If the aging parent volunteers, a caregiver can provide safe transportation. A robust social life can help replace negativity with positive feelings.
2. Enlist Dementia Care
Progressive brain conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, can cause behavior and personality changes. Seniors with memory loss may display symptoms, such as apathy, withdrawal, moodiness and anxiety. Dementia patients who lose the ability to communicate become frustrated and anxious.
Family members may fail to notice cognitive problems early on. But when cognitive decline sets in and the parent’s personality suddenly shifts, the senior should undergo a full neurological and physical evaluation. Remember that the frustrations associated with memory lapses can spur bouts of negativity.
Adult children are hardly alone in caring for a parent struggling with dementia. Memory care providers are essential to ensuring that the elderly remain safe in their home. These trained professionals understand how to calm an agitated senior and can return a sense of well-being to the dementia patient.
Routine is also helpful in assuaging the dementia patient. A dementia caregiver includes structure into each day, so that the senior knows what to expect. Adjustments like these can reduce the fear and anxiety brought on by dementia. As a result of comfort and familiarity, negativity is reduced.
Prescription medications, too, are now available to help minimize behavioral and personality changes due to dementia. Seniors may benefit from anti-anxiety or antipsychotic medicines. Keep in mind that nonpharmaceutical options should be considered as a first response to behavioral issues.
3. Ease Boredom
Most elderly parents have retired from the workforce. With excess time on their hands and a lack of purpose, seniors may start to vent their frustrations. When age-related changes affect elderly parents’ independence and they begin to focus on negative life aspects, pessimism is the outcome.
Family members can remedy boredom in countless ways. The local senior center is filled with opportunities to stay socially active and engaged. Adult children might consider adult day care, where structured games, therapies and activities are offered in a safe environment during the day.
Encouraging the elderly parent to pursue craftwork or a hobby are ideal means to easing boredom. If grandchildren live too far away, professional caregivers can join the senior in assembling scrapbooks, creating photo collages or making jewelry. Gifting the craftwork fulfills the senior.
4. Alleviate Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can cause hostility, anger, depression and anxiety in older people. An aging parent who constantly complains may have underlying pain that he is unable or unwilling to express. Arthritic pain, for instance, causes discomfort and may result in limping, moving more slowly or walking less.
When signs of pain become apparent, adult children are urged to seek medical care and pain relief for the elderly parent. The doctor will conduct a thorough exam and check for changes in health. Once chronic pain is relieved, the negative mood states are likely to improve.
5. Check Medications
Certain drugs can cause behavioral changes and lead to uncharacteristic negativity. Anti-seizure medications, statins, anti-inflammatories, and blood pressure drugs have been known to adversely affect personality. These changes should be reported to the doctor to see if the drugs are still appropriate.
Drug interactions, too, can affect a senior’s disposition in a negative way. Adult children are advised to consult with the parent’s doctor or pharmacist when the senior takes multiple medications. The physician or pharmacist will double check to ensure the drug combination is safe.
6. Check for Infections
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are known to cause an eruption of atypical behavioral symptoms, including confusion, irritability and angry outbursts. When a parent suddenly displays these symptoms, an infection may be present. Immediate medical care is required to avoid complications.
When your loved one’s outlook turns negative, an underlying cause may be responsible. Family members should consider any of the above reasons for sudden, chronic negativity. In-home support from Assisting Hands Home care is a viable means to treating the causes of negativity.
Assisting Hands Home Care offers a wide range of elder care services, including respite care, companion care, post-operative care and live-in care. While our services are nonmedical in nature, they are comprehensive and meet the daily care needs of seniors at varying levels of functioning.
Our caregivers’ responsibilities include assistance with personal hygiene (grooming, dressing, bathing, toileting), providing transportation to doctor’s offices or senior centers, grocery shopping, meal preparation, medication reminders, light housekeeping and companionship services. Companion care significantly reduces seniors’ boredom, loneliness and isolation.
Your parents deserve the most compassionate in-home support. Assisting Hands Home Care is dedicated to ensuring our care recipients live with dignity and as much independence as possible. Our home care agency is committed to serving seniors living in the communities surrounding Dallas, Richardson, University Park and Highland Park, Texas.