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As caregivers at Silver Sitters, we often encounter challenging behaviors from the seniors we care for. These behaviors can range from anger and hostility to refusal to bathe, and even hallucinations. Understanding these behaviors and knowing how to handle them can make caregiving a more manageable task.
Difficult Behaviors Of Seniors
Let us explore some poor behaviors exhibited by seniors due to mental or physical health issues and diverse ways to cope with those behaviors.
Anger, outbursts, and tantrums
Anger and hostility in seniors can often be a result of the frustrations that come with aging, such as chronic pain, memory issues, and loss of independence. It’s important to remember that seniors with dementia may not have full control over their actions and words. As caregivers, you should focus on the positive, ignore the negative, and take regular breaks to maintain your well-being. You can also hire In-home care for seniors to help them with their angry behavior.
Abusive behavior from seniors can be particularly challenging. The reasons behind the abusive behavior of seniors can be mental illness or a personality disorder. Try to explain to seniors how their abusive behavior makes you feel. If a senior is verbally or emotionally abusive, it may be beneficial to step back for a while or seek outside help. Hiring professional caregivers is a must if it is physical abuse.
Denying personal hygiene
Personal hygiene becomes a serious issue with seniors as they age. At times, it becomes frustrating for the family to deal with such behavior of the senior. If a senior refuses to bathe or change their clothes, it could be due to depression, a desire for autonomy, or fear of falling.
Determine what’s the reason behind their refusal to take a shower or maintain their hygiene like whether they are depressed, or have a fear of slipping. Once you know the reason, do your best efforts to maintain their personal hygiene and try to be gentle with them.
Another difficult behavior of seniors to deal with is verbally aggressive behavior, which can be particularly embarrassing in public settings. If this behavior is out of character and gradually worsens, the reason could be Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.
Try not to take this behavior personally and try to distract the senior when an outburst occurs. Also, make them clear that you will not tolerate such behavior to make them feel guilty.
Hallucinations and delusions
Paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations in seniors can point toward a serious physical or mental problem. It’s important to keep track of these experiences and discuss them with their doctor as soon as possible.
It can be due to the side effects of certain medications or associated with dementia. The best way would be to acknowledge a senior’s concerns and assure them that they are safe with you.
Obsessive or compulsive behaviors
Obsessive or compulsive behaviors, refusal to accept outside caregivers, overspending or extreme frugality, and demanding and attention-seeking behavior are other common issues that caregivers at Silver Sitters may encounter.
The reason behind the obsessive behavior of seniors can be depression, anxiety, and dementia. Be watchful of the things that trigger such behavior among seniors and look for ways to minimize this.
Each of these behaviors requires a unique approach, but understanding the underlying causes and seeking professional help when necessary can make caregiving a more manageable task.
Solitto Marlo. “How to Handle Difficult Behaviors in the Elderly”. Aging Care, July 13, 2023, https://www.agingcare.com/articles/how-to-handle-an-elderly-parents-bad-behavior-138673.htm
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