Caring for aging parents with mental illness

Caring for aging parents with mental illness

Elders are somehow considered a special population because they need care, affection, love, and support from younger, and in return, they bless their children. It is not easy to take care of the elderly, especially if they are unhealthy or have any mental illness. 

Mental illnesses are very common in elderly people because it is found as a part of the natural process. Sadly, very few people go after its treatment because they think it is untreatable.

It is often seen that elders don’t seek treatment because they are not very open to discuss their problems. They think of it as shame and hide it from others. 

Moreover, if people find out that their parents have some mental illness, they don’t take much notice and state it as a fact of aging. Aging indeed has drastic effects, but this is not the case for everyone. Elders do need continuous care and supervision, especially if they show some signs of mental illness.

Forgetting is one of the common problems found in elders that lead to dementia if left untreated. Interestingly, experts highlight the difference between normal aging and dementia to resolve the misunderstanding. 

A large number of elders are suffering from mental illnesses. The common problems are dementia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression. These, in combination with natural changes, turn into misery and cause danger to their lives. 

Consult with Expert.

There are several ways to care for elders with mental illnesses. Consultation is the most prior measurement to make that most people forget to do. Seeking some professional help is mandatory and may result in very help. In this regard, physicians and psychologists are the best options to seek consultation. Minor and early biological changes can be managed if treated before it gets worse. So, consultation with an expert will always be of great help.

Other than seeking professional help, proper attention and help from a caregiver will be helpful in the management of problems. There are several other ways that you can do for elders as a caretaker. 

Normal chit chat.

Being a caregiver does not only mean providing physical help, but emotional support helps the patients a lot to recover. Take time for normal chit chat with elders when you both are calm and have nothing to do. 

The evening is the best time for normal talk. In the evening, a person’s activity is down, and they are in an emotionally calm state. It is the best time to give suggestions and discuss a healthy routine with them. The caregiver’s emotional stability is mandatory because one must be calm and positive first to provide emotional support to others. You can change the strategy but be persistent in your approach to achieve results.  

Encourage to Seek Professional Help.

It is important for parents suffering from mental health issues to seek some professional health. Most of the time, the problem has biological nature rather than an emotional and cognitive cause only. The important task for you, being a caretaker, is to encourage your parents to see a doctor. 

These kinds of problems can be treated with medications. Therapist help is a plus point if added to the treatment plan. The therapist helps to identify the problem, find the underlying cause, and cope with this problem.

Engage in effective communication.

It would be best if you were efficient and active while taking care of older people. As a caretaker of aging parents with psychological complaints, you’ll have to communicate with many people, including other family members, friends, health care professionals, etc. 

If you are an outsider caretaker, you need to manage the pace between other family members and elderly persons. Family members possibly will require regular updates on a parent’s condition, while the parents want more privacy. Now it is your job as a caretaker to satisfy both parties and keep the parent stress-free. 

Know about the problem in detail.

Being a caretaker to a parent with mental illness, you need to have enough knowledge of the problem, causes, medications, and management. Gather as much information as you think is necessary to understand the person but don’t forget to check the source’s credibility. 

You can change therapy techniques and tasks so that your parents enjoy doing it. You can also easily find such information on websites such as health organizations and NGOs. 

The best source is to consult with the doctor and others who have experience caring for loved ones having similar conditions. Besides, find any online or local mental health assistance programs that can help you. All these statistics will benefit you figure out the kinds of emotional, practical, and financial sustenance your parent might need.  

Taking care of their medicines.

Though many people don’t believe in mental health problem has a biological cause. If your parent has this psyche, it will burden your task. You need to be observant and take care of their medicines. It will help treat the illness or alleviate symptoms. You need to be cautious about the medication, diet plan, supplements, and other substances if the patient is taking. You need extra attention if they are taking drugs too. 

Complete the necessary Paperwork.

Suppose your parent suffers from a chronic problem like depression and has suicidal thoughts, harming others and oneself. In this case, you need to be vigilant and need power of attorney to make decisions, including medical ones, on their behalf.

Give them independence.

Give them independence and an attorney to make them responsible for their actions. It is normal that as people get older, their family members start making the decisions on their parent’s behalf. As a result, they feel dependent and worthless. It is important to keep them involved in their own care decisions, which in turn helps them feel more independent when it comes to taking a new step in their life.

Take care of yourself.

It is the ever-important part that most caretakers forget to do. You need to be positive, healthy, and strong enough to nourish others. As a caregiver, your emotional and mental health is more important than the person in front of you.  

You can take care of yourself by engaging in healthy activities like exercise, sleeping, spending quality time with friends and family, and taking a healthy diet. Sometimes taking a break can cheer you up. In the worst-case scenario, don’t hesitate to take some professional help and set up an appointment for yourself too.

There are many ways one can use to take care of elders with mental illness. The thing important here is to be consistent and try different approaches.

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