10 Common Aging Difficulties and How To Handle Them
Elderly people can become prone to outbursts of behaviour that cause distress or embarrassment to their relatives and carers. Sometimes this is just due to the person’s temperament, but such behaviour may be an indication of some common ageing difficulties, such as dementia, urinary tract infections or even depression.
Here are ten of the most common behaviours that your loved one may experience.
1. Anger Issues
Anger is one of the most common ageing difficulties that carers are faced with, particularly from older people who have a tendency towards irritability or impatience. Try to identify the source of the anger, and try not to take it personally, but if it persists, respite care will at least give you a break from the outbursts.
2. Abusive Behaviour
We often hurt the ones we love, but you mustn’t tolerate abusive behaviour, even if your loved one is unwell. Explaining how their behaviour makes you feel could alter their outlook, but if you are struggling, particularly with physical abuse, then it’s important to seek professional help.
3. Refusing to Shower
A loss of attention to personal hygiene could be an indication of memory or sensory problems, or it could be an attempt to gain control of a life that is becoming hard to bear. Try to determine the reasons for stopping bathing, such as difficulty using the shower or bath, which could be eased by handrails and modified seating.
4. Swearing or Offensive/Inappropriate Comments
Bad language can be an indication of Alzheimer’s, so seek professional advice as soon as possible.
5. Paranoia or Hallucinations
These distressing symptoms can be a warning indication of serious problems, so keep a diary and report your findings to a doctor for further investigation.
6. Strange Obsessions
Anxiety, depression and some forms of dementia could trigger obsessions, so this behaviour should be seen as symptomatic of an underlying problem rather than a character flaw.
Hoarding may be an attempt to gain control, or it could signal changes to your loved one’s mental state which require medical intervention. Seek a doctor’s advice if you suspect the latter.
8. Refusing to Let Outside Caregivers into Their Home
If your loved one refuses help from caregivers, you need to establish the reason. It could be a question of control, or it could be symptomatic of fear or embarrassment, so spend time talking over the situation so that you can find a solution.
9. Overspending or Extreme Frugality
Loss of independence may manifest in overspending or the complete opposite behaviour. Establishing that your loved one does have a degree of control over their own life may be all that is needed to resolve this type of problem.
10. Wanting All Your Time and Attention
You need a life outside caring for your loved one, so if they are monopolising your time you must set boundaries, perhaps by employing a respite carer to give you a break.
These are just some of the common ageing difficulties that you may encounter in a loved one. It’s important to remain calm, no matter what the provocation, and take time to put yourself in your loved one’s situation, as this can help you to understand their underlying frustrations about their situation.