Understanding Senior Citizen Behavior Changes
“There is nothing permanent except change.” This is a famous quote from the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. This quote, has proven itself to be a universal truth throughout recorded and unrecorded history. It cuts across many aspects of living and non-living existence. One of the changes that we would want to focus on in this blog is about the changes in a senior citizen’s behavior. If we are living with an elderly relative, we should understand that during the transition to old age, behavioral changes happen. This change is always a reason for a misunderstanding inside the family that is why many would resort to hiring caregivers in places like Calabasas.
Caregivers have undergone proper sets of training to understand and handle changes in a senior’s behavior. However, there is also an unwritten rule that we, the family members or relatives, should be able to understand the changes in our elderly relative’s conduct. This way, we are able to give them our full support during this stage of their lives. The first step in adapting to the behavioral changes among elders is to recognize that our attitude towards the results of change would solely depend on our understanding of the situation. That is why we are here to present some common changes in behavior during aging to give us a grasp of what to expect and help us adapt to these changes.
Here are some behavioral changes in the transition to old age:
- Memory Lapses
- We all know that as we age, our capacity to remember information would deteriorate. And this is a very common scenario for elderly people. They would often have a difficult time remembering the names of relatives, or worse, even their relationship with family members. This is a specter not only to the person experiencing the memory gaps but even to people around them. The best way to cope with this situation is to explain to them the details of what they are forgetting in the most soothing voice possible.
- Paranoia and Hallucinations
- These two can be very harmful for the psychological wellbeing of elderly people. When they experience paranoia and hallucinations, they may accuse people of being thieves, see non-existent things, or even feel that they are in great danger even if they are not. When not given enough attention, these may cause psychological trauma to the senior which is why it is necessary for family members to keep track of the elderly person’s visions and discuss them with a doctor. Talking them out of the hallucination will not help as the vision that they are having can be very realistic for them. Arguing with them about the matter will just make them more upset. The best thing to do is to validate and assure them. ‘Go with the flow’ but make sure that you would assure their safety once they feel threatened.
- Difficulty in coping with the loss of loved ones
- The loss of a spouse, friend, or relative will have a great impact on the behavior of elders. They may experience extreme sadness which may lead to depression. Consulting a physician about this matter will give you ways on how to treat this situation. Medication and therapy are commonly prescribed in this situation. On the other hand, family members can do some things in order to prevent old-age depression from occurring. Letting our elderly relatives be engaged in social or family gatherings, religious events, and other physical or social activities can definitely help.
- Discouragement and rage as physical health declines
- As health declines, elderly people tend to be discouraged because they would realize that they cannot do the physical activities that they have been doing in the past. This may result to aggression and yelling. If this occurs, EMPATHY goes a long way. Talk to them about their feelings about the changes in their physical capabilities. Also, let them feel that they are still important by letting them participate in household activities which they are still capable of doing.
- Cognitive learning difficulty
- The retention of new information may take a longer time to be absorbed by seniors. This means that they may easily forget new stuff that you try to teach or tell them. In this case, you have to be patient. It will not help if you would pour your frustrations to them because it will just worsen the situation. Instead, you should help them in keeping their memory and response time sharp by encouraging them to read widely, learn new skills, and allowing them to further their social relationships.
- Losing independence
- In connection to the physiological deterioration that an elderly person will experience, he/she will most likely lose independence not only in the physical aspect but as well as in decision making. They tend to overspend or save too much. The cases of overspending may result to debts, hoarding of items, or being a victim of scams. On the other hand, extreme frugality would mean that they would not want to spend a single dollar even on maintenance medicine. This may be a crucial topic to discuss with seniors on your own, so it would help if you seek the help of a third party like a financial advisor, a spiritual leader, or a trusted friend.
These are just some of the changes in an elderly’s behavior that we should know how to adapt with. It is good to be aware of these matters so that we would know how to deal with them properly. Patience, empathy, consultation with an expert, emotional support, physical presence, and open communication are the things that we should continually practice when faced in the aforementioned situations. Also, it would help if you hire caregivers to continually supply the emotional, mental, and physical support that senior citizens would need even if you’re not around. Care World Home Care Agency will definitely help you find the best elderly care provider here in Calabasas, and other places in the area. We will make sure that the caregiver we would refer to you would be mentally, physically, and emotionally ready to provide the best senior care for your loved ones.