The loss of spouses or other loved ones, chronic conditions, and a sense of not having anything to contribute to society are just some of the factors that can contribute to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems in seniors. Even if your elderly loved one isn’t facing these particular issues, his or her emotional needs should still be addressed. Today, we’re going to offer some tips on ways you can meet your loved one’s emotional needs.
Pay Attention to Signs of Mental Illness
A survey conducted by the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found only 7 percent of seniors who likely had mental health disorders were receiving care specifically for those issues. One reason for this may be that some older adults don’t come right out and say something is wrong. At other times, they may not realize it themselves.
Look for possible signs of mental illness in your parent, and encourage him or her to talk to a doctor if you identify any of these symptoms. Some of these signs include:
• Withdrawal from favorite activities
• Noticeable and consistent changes in mood
• Unusual behavioral patterns
• Appetite changes
• Depression that lasts for more than a few weeks
Professional caregivers can help older adults make healthy lifestyle choices that can stave off conditions such as anxiety and depression. If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior family member and are looking for professional senior home care, Huntsville Home Care Assistance should be your top choice. Our dedicated and compassionate caregivers are committed to helping older adults manage their health and enjoy a higher quality of life in the golden years.
Acknowledge Your Loved One’s Feelings
Don’t dismiss feelings your loved one expresses, even if he or she mentions the same thing multiple times. For instance, if your loved one keeps saying how he or she can’t get around as much because of limited mobility, take time to acknowledge and discuss his or her feelings about this situation. Go a bit further and offer suggestions whenever possible. With the mobility issue, for example, you might suggest installing ramps or a stair lift in your loved one’s home and taking advantage of local transportation services for seniors.
Plan Activities Based on Your Loved One’s Personality
If you haven’t done so already, take some time to really understand your loved one’s personality. Knowing what your loved one generally likes and responds well to makes it easier to structure his or her routine in a way that’s not overly stressful. You can also steer your loved one toward activities he or she might find enjoyable or relaxing.
Encourage Your Loved One to Find New Ways to Engage & Connect
For an older adult who was once vital and active in work and other aspects of life, the changes in daily life that come with aging can be frustrating. One way to meet your loved one’s emotional needs is to help him or her find new ways to engage, contribute, and connect socially. Some of the possibilities include:
• Getting involved with local charities
• Using social media and other online tools to learn new things and interact with people with similar interests
For families living in Huntsville, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
Get into the Habit of Asking “How Are You Doing Today?”
This may seem like a simple thing, but honestly asking how your loved one is doing on a regular basis can be a good way to start conversations and identify things that concern him or her. If your loved one sees you genuinely care, he or she may be more likely to open up and let you know if there’s anything you can help him or her with.
Older adults need to prioritize their emotional wellbeing to maintain a high quality of life as they age. In-home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at (256) 716-9940 today.