It’s not easy to talk about mental illness with elderly loved ones who are suffering from mental health issues. Chances are, you’ll offend them or upset them unintentionally. As a caregiver, it’s not an excuse if you didn’t mean to make your patients react violently with your actions because it’s your duty to know the right way to approach them. Ignorance is not a claimable reason to absolve you from the consequences of the problems you’ve caused.
Reports say that between 14-20% of the entire senior’s population suffers from one or more mental health issues which include dementia, depression, and other problems caused by substance abused. While both the natural physical and cognitive impairments result from aging, psychological issues can also impose danger on an elderly’s health and place stress to family members. So what could caregivers, like you, do to address the issues?
Senior Mood Disorders Treatment
Some seniors don’t accept assistance and treatment because of health denial. They don’t accept the obvious fact that they are mentally ill and in most cases, they never want to bring up the topic of them having mental disorders. They thought it was all part of aging, which is inevitable to happen. True enough, however, it is per advised by health experts to provide them with professional help if behavioral and mood changes show up.
If elderly patients don’t acknowledge their disorder, focus on the symptoms instead. This works well to encourage them to schedule a doctor’s visit. Through right diagnosis and proper treatment, you may slow down the symptoms while at the same time; avoid any lucid communications with them.
Expect that handling elderly patients is emotionally taxing. Being said that, make ways to seek out resources and support for yourself. Ask health professional motivation or attend support groups to gain strength and motivation to outperform the emotional attack.
Best Conversational Strategies
If it becomes too difficult to convince your elderly loved ones to undergo a home care, here are conversational strategies to let them do so, and further inform them the need to take additional senior care.
- Ensure consistency in medication. Facing a mental disorder is a tough situation among elderly patients. Every effort, even the lowest type of medication can help slow down anxiety build up.
- Discuss on a calm situation. Any time is not an ideal time to discuss such a sensitive topic. The best way is to find time when both of you are calm and are ready to listen. And on the discussion, explain the needs, stress and benefits this will incur you both, and as always, don’t forget to compromise.
- Resist emotional outbursts. An elderly can be strident in a sudden way so when this happens, take resistance to emotional outbursts. It will only increase anxiety which might lead to a communication shut down.
- If the first attempt fails, try again. There’s no guarantee you’ll be able to convince your patient at your first attempt, but it doesn’t mean you give up. If you become emotional and if the conversation went wrong, take a break and choose another great time to discuss it calmly with your patient.
- Get the paperwork done, if badly needed. When the patient becomes life-threatening to his/her own self, discussion might no longer be the best solution. If the patient is under your care, it’s right to acquire a medical power of attorney so they can make the final decision in your stead. There are some types of mental disorders that pose great danger. One case is bipolar.