Emotions are complex. Seniors tend to seem as though they get calmer as they get older, but they can also be regulating their emotions so they aren’t always obvious. Some seniors experience heightened emotional reactions in response to the frequent changes in their lives. Exploring these six common emotional effects of aging gives families a basis for understanding how to help their senior loved ones move through each one.
1. Experiencing Sudden Shifts in Emotions
Mood swings are fairly common in older adults. Your loved one may be enjoying a family event and then suddenly be hit by a burst of nostalgia for times gone by. Seeing your loved one shift from happy to sad so suddenly can be upsetting, but realizing it’s normal helps you address his or her feelings. Letting your loved one know it’s okay to feel two things at once can make it easier for him or her to process how he or she feels.
2. Feeling Higher Levels of Anxiety
When you think about it, life’s stresses just keep coming. Seniors might no longer be overwhelmed by raising kids or holding jobs, but those stressors are often exchanged for others. Talk to your loved one about what drives his or her anxiety, and see what can be done to fix each source of stress. Simple steps, such as installing a special type of smoke alarm if your parent has impaired hearing, can help your loved one feel safer each day.
Your loved one’s anxiety can be mitigated with the help of a professional caregiver. Homecare services agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Assisting Hands Home Care, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. Our caregivers encourage seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.
3. Experiencing Grief & Loss Differently
Grief can sometimes be heightened by other losses. You might not understand why your loved one is taking the loss of a distant acquaintance so hard, but he or she might be reminded of other losses. Your loved one may also feel a sense of his or her own mortality. Seniors who have experienced recent losses need to talk to people about their feelings. Professional counseling is an option if your loved one isn’t making progress in his or her ability to process the loss and move forward.
A compassionate home caregiver can lend an empathetic ear when your loved one needs to express feelings of loss and grief. For families living in Columbia, 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 Assisting Hands Home Care, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
4. Getting More Out of Simple Pleasures
Not all of the emotional changes that occur during the senior years are negative. Your loved one may suddenly find great joy in simple things. For instance, your loved one may relish the feeling of bubbles on his or her hands while washing dishes or take great pride in feeding the birds outside. Try to incorporate as many happy experiences as you can into your loved one’s day to ease the more painful moments that occur as time goes by.
5. Wanting to Express Emotions Differently
Your once stoic parent may suddenly begin to cry unashamedly. Or an expressive parent may suddenly clam up and refuse to talk about what’s bothering him or her. Seniors with cognitive disorders may also begin to express anger physically. Help your loved one find acceptable ways to express his or her emotions, and let him or her know you’re there to help through the challenges.
6. Being Confused about Feelings
Seniors, especially those experiencing cognitive decline, sometimes have difficulty understanding their emotional reactions. For instance, they may only know they feel angry, yet they may not realize this is because they’re in physical pain. Work with your loved one’s other caregivers to watch for patterns that reveal how your loved one is feeling so you can address negative emotions before they intensify.
Emotional issues can have a significant impact on seniors’ overall health and wellbeing, and they should be addressed with compassion and empathy. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Columbia families trust Assisting Hands Home Care to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. Call us today at (443) 233-1245 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.