How you can help the elderly adjust

The elders in the family, whether they live with you or not, often display behaviours that that uncharacteristic, and/or make them seem ‘difficult’. Caring for an elderly parent can be trying and, at times, simply overwhelming. There are a couple of ways in which you could deal with the elderly in the family when they are not at their best:

  • If you suspect that the elderly person is being difficult because he or she is depressed, encourage her to seek help through a psychologist or family doctor. According to the University of California, older people often are reluctant to talk about their feelings and don’t receive proper treatment. Late-life depression, however, can be effectively treated with medication and talk therapy.
  • Take a look at the financial status of your parents. If it is declining, chances are that this fact has also made them anxious. Prepare for the added expenses if they are financially insecure, find out about their health insurance and other such provisions, which may or may not have been made.
  • If you have siblings, no matter where they live, you could get them together on a family plan for your parents. Divide financial as also other obligations so that there is no sense of being overwhelmed if one has to look after the parents along with one’s own family responsibilities.
  • Make sure you include the elderly in carrying out family duties and chores that they can handle. This gives them a sense of purpose and inclusion. Being left out of the duties, even if it is done with all the good intentions, would make them feel excluded, isolated and cranky.
  • If they live away from you, perform, without fail, a safety check of your parent’s home so that they can retain their independence and you have less cause to worry about their physical wellbeing. There are a lot of accessibility modifications, which can help the elderly. You might need to install handrails, get sharp-edged or potentially hazardous furniture away from their path as they move around the house, get better lighting and other such make adjustments for their declining vision, and also make sure that the house is free of clutter.
  • Encourage them to be socially interactive so that their anxieties and stresses are reduced and you avoid a burnout.

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