When seniors are experiencing personality and behavioral changes, the issues are often rooted in fear and uncertainty about what the future holds. Family members can help their aging loved ones manage these painful issues by offering compassion, understanding, and patience. When seniors resort to name-calling, insults, manipulation, and other negative behaviors, caregivers are often the targets and may feel hurt by their loved ones’ words and actions. Knowing what’s causing the behavior changes can provide greater understanding and a sense of peace that comes from knowing you’re not the issue. Here are five ways to handle personality changes in seniors.
1. Get to the Root of the Problem
Simply ask your loved one how he or she is feeling about the changes he or she is experiencing. Your parent’s changing behavior may sometimes cause you to lose your temper, but getting angry won’t be helpful. If you need to, take a few minutes to step away and regain control of your emotions. This will help you respond to your parent calmly and show you’re only concerned about his or her best interests.
2. Check for Physical Causes
Any serious changes in your loved one’s behavior should be assessed by a doctor because a health condition such as dementia may be causing your loved one’s personality changes. Alternatively, chronic pain might be causing your parent to lash out. If you’re worried about your parent’s reaction to discussing the behavior with his or her physician, consider contacting the doctor in advance so he or she can observe your loved one for warning signs of a condition such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
If your parent is diagnosed with dementia, compassionate help is available. Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. McKinney seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.
3. Provide Reassurance
Reassure your loved one that you’re there for support and you’ll help him or her handle the issues he or she is experiencing. Don’t be confrontational, and show compassion and empathy for your loved one’s situation.
4. Talk about the Changes
When your loved one starts acting negatively toward you, talk honestly and gently with him or her about the behavior. Let your loved one know how his or her actions are hurting you.
5. Find Ways to Help Your Loved One with Everyday Activities
Your loved one’s behavior may be the result of frustration resulting from age-related changes that limit his or her ability to handle daily activities. For example, your loved one may get angry when trying to get dressed or prepare a meal. Find ways to help your loved one accomplish everyday activities. For example, having someone help with meal preparation or using a dressing aid may be all that’s needed to help your loved one be more confident and relaxed.
If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior home care. McKinney Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
6. Get Others Involved
It’s essential to get other family members or professionals involved in providing care, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the process. Hiring a compassionate in-home caregiver can provide relief for both you and your loved one.
If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality home care service, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call Home Care Assistance at (972) 548-0392 today.