6 Possible Reasons for Changes in Your Aging Parent’s Behavior
By Gary Hightower 9 am on
Behavior and personality changes sometimes naturally occur with age, although such changes are usually gradual and not much reason for concern. What can be concerning for family caregivers are changes of this nature that come on suddenly or worsen or ones that come and go for no apparent reason. Here are six possible things that can lead to behavioral changes in seniors and what can be done about each one.
1. Medication Side Effects
On average, seniors fill anywhere from 14 to 18 prescriptions a year. Certain medications, including ones for asthma and some antidepressants, may make users angry, impulsive, or restless. Other medications can cause behavioral or personality changes if they interact with other prescription or over-the-counter drugs.What to do: Check with your loved one’s doctor to see if medications need to be adjusted or changed or if there are possible non-medicinal alternatives.
2. Early Signs of Dementia
When most people hear the word “dementia,” they think of Alzheimer’s, which is progressive and not curable. However, there are many other types of dementia that can produce similar behavioral and personality changes, including some that are manageable, treatable, or even reversible.What to do: Have your aging loved one evaluated for dementia to either confirm or rule out this possibility.Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Arlington Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
3. Vision Changes
Untreated cataracts and other vision-related issues common in older adults may affect personality and behavior due to changes in visual perception. More serious eye conditions may cause visual hallucinations that make seniors react oddly. You or your loved one might even jump to the conclusion that it’s dementia or senility.What to do: Have your loved one’s vision checked to determine if there’s an eye-related issue that can be managed or treated.
4. Hearing Problems
An inability to fully hear what’s being said can cause seniors to behave differently. If your loved one is purposely hiding hearing difficulties out of embarrassment, his or her personality could gradually change as well, especially if he or she becomes socially withdrawn or defensive when asked about his or her hearing.What to do: Direct your loved one to an audiologist or other hearing specialist so thorough testing can be done. The good news is many hearing issues can be managed well with customized hearing aids.
5. Depression & Other Mental Health Issues
Depression is just one type of mental illness that can contribute to behavioral and personality changes in older adults. Depression, stress, and anxiety may also worsen if your loved one has lost a spouse or close friend or has become depressed about his or her health situation and other age-related changes affecting quality of life.What to do: There are many medications and therapies that can help seniors manage mental health conditions like depression. Active support from family members and friends can be helpful as well.At-home careagenciescan 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.
6. Unresolved Concerns or Fears
Not all seniors are naturally open with their feelings, fears, worries, and concerns. Over time, keeping things bottled up inside could contribute to changes in behavior or personality. For example, your loved one might suddenly become guarded or accusatory if he or she believes increasing care needs may force him or her out of the family home, or he or she may act out because of financial stress.What to do: If you suspect your loved one is excessively worried or concerned about something, take time to talk to him or her. Do so without judgment and work together to come up with sensible and mutually acceptable solutions.Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Arlington, TX, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. If you need professional home care for your loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at (817) 591-1580.