“As your parents age you will feel a wide range of emotions,” says Maud Purcell, LCSW, CEAP. Many questions come to mind when it comes to taking good care of one’s elderly parent, some of which include identifying the proper living arrangements for them as well as looking into their finances. Unfortunately, this becomes challenging especially if you already have a family of your own. In this article, we are going to look into the different tips on how you could handle the necessity of having an elderly parent live with you. Be sure to remember these:
The National Institute of Mental Health published a study claiming that around 20 percent of seniors experience mental health issues or problems. “Mental wellness however, requires some effort, in the same way physical health does,” says Jennice Vilhauer Ph.D. The same research also revealed that two out of three adults are lucky enough to receive treatment. This is alarming, which is why it is essential for people to be aware of mental illness in the elderly.
Below are some of the common signs or symptoms of mental health disorder for parents:
Sudden Loss Of Appetite
Take note that seniors are not fond of having a high food intake on a daily basis. This is usually the case most importantly when the old persons involved already have food restrictions for health reasons. It is only normal to see that your elderly parent is starting to be picky about what he eats. However, once he starts to lose appetite for days, it can be an indication that he is suffering from depression or anxiety.
Constant Mood Swings
When seniors age, there is a high possibility that they suddenly become short tempered. They will have mood swings most of the time, because of the several problems or issues that they encounter as they age. But if you notice that your senior parent’s mood swings have lasted for at least two weeks, then maybe it is about time to see a psychiatrist for him.
Thoughts Of Suicide
Listen to what your parent says whenever you have a conversation. Always go in between the lines to fully understand what he is saying. He may be going through a difficult phase in his life. Be sure that you are aware of this. Always keep in mind that suicidal thoughts are not typical. You need to take it seriously. Whenever your parent mentions it, the best thing to do is to find ways to improve his mental health. Do more things that could make him happy.
Difficulty In Sleeping
Another common symptom for depressed individuals is difficulty in sleeping. If your parent starts to wake up in the middle of the night for consecutive days, then it could be a sign that something is bothering him. If this situation continues to take place for a long period, then there is a high chance that he is suffering from depression.
Several factors can cause mental health issues in seniors. It could be brought about by problems in family life, relationships with others and finances. Once you discover that your old parent has developed a mental disorder, the smart thing to do is find professional help. As much as possible, look for a medical doctor or psychiatrist who could look into the case of your parent.
“Being emotionally well doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re happy all the time, but rather, that you’re self-aware and able to shift as a way to feel better,” said Diana Raab Ph.D.
Avoid making rash decisions when it comes to finding a therapist or psychiatrist to help your senior parent. “It is important, when looking for someone to help with your problems, to get recommendations from people you trust, to interview several different therapists, to ask about their training, and finally, to trust your instinct,” according to F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. Be sure to conduct the necessary research to avoid choosing the wrong health professional. As much as possible, exert some efforts to ask for referrals or recommendations. Remember that this issue must be taken seriously at all times.
Are your parents planning to get a divorce after thirty or forty years of marriage?
A marriage falling apart after such a long duration isn’t about a lack of commitment. Instead, the dedication to staying together is what allowed the marriage to last as long as it did. Yet society vilifies the desolation. Instead of understanding and compassion for the long-suffering, insensitive remarks are made about the character of those who decide to divorce. – Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC
Do you find it heartbreaking or difficult to move on from their separation? Do you wonder what took them so long to decide that they want to end the relationship? If yes, then this article is what you need to read right now. We may not have the answers to the questions that you are looking for, but we can give you a list of things to do so that you could handle the divorce of your senior parents.
Children of divorce often experience expectations of failure, fear of loss or abandonment and fear of conflict throughout their lives. These anxieties are reflected in their romantic relationships by poor partner or behavior choices, giving up too quickly when problems arise or avoidance of any perceived level of commitment. – Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Lesli Doares
Did you know that accidents are common to seniors? Are you aware that old individuals are more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses compared to the young ones? The reason behind this is simple: as a person grows old, his health becomes complicated. Because of this, there is a high possibility that he would not be able to enjoy the full functions of his senses. As such, the likelihood of the occurrence of accidents and injuries is high.
According to Jennifer M. Bottomley, PhD, MS, PT, president of the geriatrics section of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and adviser to the surgeon general, “one of the main things that brings older people to the physical therapist is a fall. “They want and need to maintain their independence,” she says.
No matter how much two persons care and love each other, there will always come a time wherein surviving the relationship becomes a struggle. “Marriage undergoes stress as a couple becomes elderly, partly because “the goals of middle age are gone,” Erlene Rosowsky, Psy.D. Experiencing hardships in a marriage is only normal, especially if the couple has been together for a long time already. This is the primary reason why there are more challenges in senior marriages. Most of the time, problems in the marriage arise when either of the parties is already in his or her senior year. As such, do not be shocked to realize that your parents’ marriage has changed now that they are already seniors.
Are you aware that senior couples are more likely to have arguments compared to the young or newly wedded spouses? “The responsibility of providing care for an aging or ill loved one is a challenge in its own right,” says Carol Bradley Bursack, an expert in handling senile people. This does not come off as a surprise especially when we know that old individuals tend to have more complicated issues than those coming from the new generation. As such, do not be shocked if you will find out that your mom and dad could not get along very well. Take note that old age necessarily involves health complications which make them feel anxious, stressed or irritable most of the time. “Dealing with a stubborn parent is not the same as dealing with a stubborn child. Older people should be autonomous,” says Robert Kane, M.D.
Now that you are already a grownup, one of the things that you do not expect to happen is finding out that your senior parents are getting a divorce. “Divorce is one of the most stressful events anyone can ever experience,” according to Michelle Farris, a marriage and family therapist. It may be a complete shock on your part to learn that after thirty, forty or even fifty years of marriage, they still decide to go on separate ways. Once they have decided to get a divorce, you are left with no choice but to deal with the current situation. We understand that what you are feeling and going through right now is difficult. Do not fret because we are going to list down some of the practical ways on how to handle this life-altering occurrence.
Always remember that when it comes to taking good care of old parents, it will involve a significant amount of money. According to Brad Klontz Psy.D., CFP, “Problems with money are incredibly common, and are often responses to stressful life events.” This is the primary reason why adult children are highly encouraged to start saving while they are still young. They must have the right amount of money, not only to answer for their own needs in the future but also to care for an aging mother or father. Whether you like it or not, financial matters are some of the things that you can never avoid.
There are many things that you need to take into consideration when it comes to caring for your elderly parents. First of all, it is significant for you to understand the fact that as your mom or dad grows up, the more sensitive they become. Because of this, you have to be careful in dealing with them. They might get offended easily by anything you say or do. Second, the manner of caring for them may be quite challenging, which is why it is necessary for you to be more patient and understanding.
According to Carol Bradley Bursack, “The responsibility of providing care for an aging or ill loved one is a challenge in its own right.”
Below is a list of some tips that you can follow in taking good care of your elderly parents:
“Not every older adult is delightful, and being the child of a difficult parent can be lonely, heartbreaking, exhausting and demoralizing,”Paul Chafetz, a Dallas psychologist says. As a child, it is your responsibility to care for your parents when they start to grow old. Take note that they have spent most of their years in raising you and in providing all your wants and needs. Now that they are no longer in their younger years, you already must care for them. To help you make better arrangements about this matter, the best thing to do is to ask yourself these questions: