Five common elderly behavior changes and ways to deal with them
We all have different normal thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as people. These recurring patterns define who we are.
Nearly everything we do involves our personalities. It has a significant role in who we are as people and how others see us. Many attributes or characteristics influence personality. Age-related changes in behavior and personality can occasionally occur.
According to studies, the personality changes as we age are often gradual and are not alarming. However, changes that occur unexpectedly, intensify over time, or appear and disappear might be alarming for family caregivers.
Here are six potential causes of behavioral changes in elders, along with solutions for each.
1) Aggression and hostility
Unfortunately, an elder’s primary caretaker is frequently the object of their rage. Find the source of their irrational rage. Resentment can be aroused in elderly people dealing with critical aspects of aging, such as memory loss, chronic pain, and family loss.
It may also be an indication of underlying disorders like Dementia. Consider their behavior as a means of expression. A person with Dementia may display aggression to communicate pain, confusion, or fear.
2) Poor personal hygiene
In many cases, older people refuse to take a bath, change their clothes, and practice good personal hygiene. Family caregivers may find it to be quite frustrating. Finding out why an elder has stopped taking a bath is the first step.
If depression is the cause, discuss treatment options with their doctor. Have a trained caregiver assist the elderly with bathing if they don’t want a family member doing it for them. Use shower chairs and other bathing devices to give stability if an elderly person fears the water or worries about slipping in the tub. With fearful Dementia patients, exercise extra consideration.
3) Paranoia, delusions and hallucinations
The symptoms of paranoia and hallucinations in the elderly might vary widely. They may falsely accuse others of abuse, see objects that aren’t there or think they are being attacked. It can be very challenging for caretakers to identify and correct these behaviors.
The presence of hallucinations and delusions in elderly people is a serious indicator of a medical or psychological issue. Keep track of the symptoms and talk to a doctor immediately. Never attempt to reason a delusion away. Validation is an effective coping strategy. Recognize the senior’s worries and sense of reality. Redirect them and reassure them of their safety if they are terrified.
4) Refusing outside care
When family caregivers choose to use in-home care, the elder may feel that their family is unable or unwilling to care for them. Additionally, it exaggerates the scope of their need and makes them feel defenseless.
Work to comprehend your loved one’s objections to in-home care, which may be motivated by resentment, fear, or a combination of the three. Discuss your feelings with them, then work together to develop solutions that suit everyone.
5) Obsessive behaviors
Most elderly display obsessive and compulsive behaviors. Numerous diseases, such as anxiety, depression, dementia, and other neurological problems, might be linked to obsessive behavior.
The symptoms of an elderly patient should be discussed with their doctor. Identify the items that trigger their obsession. Avoid the triggers as much as you can, and do not indulge in their compulsions.
Look after yourself too
Even the most resilient people experience stress when caring for a loved one. Take measures to maintain your health and wellbeing if you are a caregiver.
It is important to prioritize yourself. If you let it, providing care can quickly become a full-time job. The failure to establish boundaries with a demanding elder can lead to caregiver burnout.
Photo by Tiago Muraro