We all have good days and bad days, and we’re all entitled to a little negative thinking or crankiness every once in a while. If you’re caring for an older adult who appears to have fallen into a routine of continuous complaining and negativity, however, it is worth exploring whether a health issue could be the reason.
Here are several reasons for negative mood swings in older adults, and how you can help.
- Pain. A recent research study found that participants who had been experiencing chronic pain reported an increase in negative moods, including anger, depression, anxiety, tension, fatigue, and more. It’s essential to share any of these mood changes with the doctor, as these types of mood changes actually impact the effectiveness of pain management treatments.
- Urinary tract infections. A UTI’s classic symptoms of pain, burning, and urgency to urinate can include additional side effects for older adults, including angry outbursts, irritability, confusion, as well as other modifications to behavior or mood. Check with the physician to rule out a urinary tract infection if you observe these types of irregular behaviors.
- Medication side effects. A wide range of medications – including those meant to help with mood, such as antidepressants – may cause troublesome mood swings. Medications for hypertension, seizures, and inflammation can cause behavioral and personality changes in some individuals. Once again, talk with the physician and go through each of the older adult’s prescriptions to figure out if the problem is due to one medication, or maybe the interaction of multiple meds together.
- Dementia. Mood and personality changes are typical in dementia. It’s essential to recognize that these changes are a symptom of the physiological changes in the brain, and are not a representation of the person’s own choices and decisions. There are medicinal and natural treatment options that can help the person feel calmer and less agitated that you may wish to explore.
Negativity can arise from loneliness or boredom, too. Whatever the cause, chronic negativity can wear on a caregiver’s own sense of comfort and wellbeing. It is important to be able to step away from your care role on a regular basis, and to make this time away a top priority. The senior will also benefit from the chance to spend time with different friends, family members, or a professional caregiver. These breaks are a healthy part of your caregiver/care receiver relationship – for both of you.
Seniorcorp’s caregivers are great companions to help brighten the mood of the seniors we serve. All of our care staff are fully trained, background checked, and experienced in a wide range of home care services for seniors. Reach out to us at 757-640-0557 to see how our home health care in Norfolk, VA and nearby areas can help someone you love, while allowing you the time you need to rest and rejuvenate.