Behavioral changes are common in older adults however, it is not easy to manage these changes. As we grow older, there are hormonal changes that will impact our emotional stability. It can be very frustrating to keep trying to satisfy their needs and wants yet, they are still unhappy. It is important to observe if these behavior changes are rather abrupt as it can be a tell-tale sign of certain diseases or needs that have not been met. It is important to keep in mind that the behavioral change in your parents could be due to a major change in the way that they are feeling internally which can cause drastic changes outwardly. If you and parents are able to communicate, it would be good to have an honest conversation as to how they are really feeling. Having a safe space to talk about their emotional distresses could really help iron things out. If your parents are uncommunicative, it would be good to monitor how they behave for a prolonged period of time as well as certain triggers that cause them to behave a particular way could help create understanding between you and your parents. Do seek professional help if their mood swings become more severe. Here are some tips to manage behavioral change in parents.
Parents with severe mood swings could be experiencing depression. If your loved ones are suffering from depression, it would be good to receive therapy or seek other professional help. Your support would mean the most to them. Depression could be triggered by dementia. Dementia is a mental impairment that causes individuals to forget easily and can create communication problems. Parents with dementia can have problems rationalizing problems and understanding situations. Affected individuals may start feeling depressed as they start to lose their cognitive abilities. As they have difficulty in communicating, they stop and start isolating themselves. They no longer have the ability to be engaged in activities they used to enjoy. In these situations, we can encourage our parents to try something new. It could be a new interest group or hobbies that cater to their abilities. These include retirement communities or interest groups that are made up by individuals of similar abilities. This creates a community for them and makes life less lonely. Additionally, we can choose to take them out more often to pamper them like watching movies or simply having a meal together.
When parents with dementia have their needs unmet, they are likely to act rashly and may start becoming physical. Sometimes, they are just trying to express their dissatisfaction but they cannot do so properly due to dementia. It is important to give your loved ones some space and time to calm down before speaking to them again. Reassure them that you will be ready to talk when they are ready. We have to be calm when we talk to them as raising your voice would cause them to be agitated again. Keep sharp objects like scissors or knives away from their reach to protect everyone around them. If there is a sudden outburst, do not be frightened but we should try to stay calm and use words that reassures them that you understand how they are feeling. As a family member, we should also be quick to forgive when they turn aggressive. It may be difficult at first but eventually, we will learn to manage their mood swings better with time and patience.