Life can get tough when caring for the elderly. Elderly loved ones undergo many physical, mental, and emotional changes that can easily overwhelm caregivers and family members when they don’t know what to do and have no experience whatsoever when it comes to caring for elders. Elderly parents can be irrational and moody. Some often have tantrums with some even experiencing hallucinations. If you are currently caring for an elderly parent or loved one, this article is perfect for you. We collected professional tips from expert caregivers that will make it easier for you to tend to the needs and behavioral changes of your elderly loved one. In this article, you will learn about:
- the six most common unruly behaviors of older adults
- the potential reasons behind such unruly behaviors
- and tips on how to cope with such unruly behaviors
1. Demand for Undivided Attention
Older adults tend to demand 24/7 attention from caregivers. This is not sustainable as caregivers have other things to tend to. When a situation like this arises, the last thing that you should do is feel guilty and drop everything in your life.
Possible reason: Some seniors do this because they long for constant company. They often feel isolated and alienated and the easiest solution for them is to often demand a 24/7 company.
How to cope: You should be clear with your boundaries. As much as you love them, you need to be able to fully take care of yourself in order to take care of them. Be clear with your time and make it a point to involve your elderly parents in all your activities that they can participate in. You may also encourage them to join book clubs or senior centers. Hire a home companion if your elder loved one needs extensive assistance.
2. Extreme Frugality / Overspending
Older adults can either be too frugal or have excessive spending habits. For ones that overspend, they may end up in debt. It becomes extra problematic if they get scammed or get addicted to gambling. In the case of extremely frugal elders, they end up not caring for themselves as they don’t spend on medications and basic needs. Both extreme behaviors should be addressed immediately.
Possible reason: This becomes a problem because older adults already have a hard time when it comes to handling their finances. It gets tricky because as they lose more and more of their independence, they find ways to get it back. The easiest for them to fully control is the spending. You need to be extra careful as overspending and extreme frugality are some of the many first signs of dementia.
How to cope: You need to talk to them seriously. They would often deny any problem but you need to be vigilant when it comes to the way they handle their money. If it is obvious that they can’t do it well, you should ask them what they need. You can hire a financial advisor to help them. Residential homes for elders like Homestyle Aged Care also offer comprehensive support when it comes to tending to the needs of seniors. If you want a warm, friendly, competent, and professional team to tend to the needs of your elderly loved one, you should look them up.
3. Refusing to be Under the Care of Other Caregivers
Deciding on having a caregiver for an elderly loved one is a major decision. This becomes problematic when seniors refuse to be cared for by outsiders.
Possible reason: Seniors can’t easily accept outsiders as caregivers because they often feel that such is the case because their family does not want to care for them. The presence of a stranger makes them feel all the more alone and vulnerable.
How to cope: Talk everything out with them. Let them know that they are so loved. Ask them to give the caregiver a try. Introduce the presence of a caregiver in a slow and patient manner.
Hoarding is a common problem to seniors that live independently. They lose track of regular adult responsibilities and end up hoarding materials that they don’t even have a need for.
Possible reason: Seniors end up hoarding because they get anxious and insecure. They do this because they feel overwhelmed and feel like they can’t get full control of everything. Hoarding in seniors is also often a sign of the early onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
How to cope: You can talk to them and help them give stuff away. You may need to work with a behavioral therapist if there is extreme hoarding.
5. Obsessive Behaviors or Compulsive Behaviors
Elders can get obsessive when it comes to their medications, clothes, activities, and belongings. Some can even develop hypochondria. This becomes a problem when such acts affect their well-being and the well-being of their caregivers. They can become abusive, angry, and offensive when it comes to interacting with other people. Obsessive behaviors can also lead to paranoia and hallucination.
Possible reason: Such behaviors always root from particular triggers. A trigger can be as simple as a change in their daily routine.
How to cope: Closely observe their triggers. Create a consistent daily lifestyle that will make them feel relaxed, at ease, and cared for.
6. Refusing to Shower or Practice Good Hygiene
The problem of poor hygiene in seniors is very common. This becomes an issue when it affects their health and overall well-being.
Possible reason: Seniors do this as a form of control. The more that you would request for them to practice good hygiene, the more that you would encounter resistance. Their senses of smell and sight are also declining so they also have a hard time figuring out if they already smell or if their clothes are already dirty. Some simply fear taking a bath for fear of slipping or falling. Depression could also be an underlying reason.
How to cope: Assess the reason as to their aversion. If it is depression, then it’s best if you’d have them talk it out with a therapist. If they fear slipping or falling, you can look for shower chairs or install grab bars. Make it a point to know the root of their concern and do something about it as soon as you can.