A senior and caregiver at a NY senior care home.

Coping With Personality Changes in Seniors 

0 Comment Category: Assisted Living

Managing the day to day responsibilities and challenges of senior caregiving can be hard enough. Add to it the unexpected changes in the mental health and behavior of seniors that can happen due to old age or diseases. It can be stressful for a person to deal with and many caregivers in assisted living facilities deal with such situations daily. The changes in the behavior of the senior and their actions due to the change might make you feel hurt or angry. However, you need to stay calm. It is also not uncommon for a caregiver to be on the receiving end of a senior’s anger even after all they do as to address the person’s needs.

When a person is unable to recognize someone or something, it can lead to a change in behavior. Anger, withdrawal, or suspicion in seniors can often signal unmanaged pain, out of control urinary tract infection, dementia-related problems, or medication interactions and side effects. The older a person gets, the more likely they are to lose control, memory, independence, mobility, and even a sense of belonging. There is no wonder a person would feel hopelessness, frustration, grief, and fear when they experience these losses and they will lash it out on the person who they see the most, which will usually be the caregiver in a senior living facility.

Tips To Cope With Behavior Changes In Seniors 

The suggestions shared below can help you find a way to cope with the behavior and personality changes in seniors. These have worked for caregivers in assisted living facilities.

  • Many caregivers carry the unrealistic burden of doing everything perfectly and feel responsible for everything that happens to the senior. However, it is important to understand that many situations are beyond our control and that everything cannot be fixed.
  • Every one of us needs validation and this is true for seniors too. You need to acknowledge what the person is feeling and for that, you can ask questions like “How are you feeling now?” or “What you are most afraid of?”
  • Whenever possible, try to spend time with the seniors and seek out their advice. Letting them understand that you value their experience and presence can help make them feel relevant and can help minimize emotional outbursts.
  • You can look for support groups either online or locally. In these groups, you can feel safe to share the emotions that you experience with the behavior changes of your loved one.
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