Tips for Supporting Your Parents' Emotional Health during Mental Health Month

Posted: 4/8/2015 10:22 AM by Interim HealthCare

Elderly Care Tips by Interim HealthCare

Your once vibrant and bubbly mother has seemed withdrawn and quiet recently. She does not want to see anyone and is reluctant to participate in activities she once loved. She has stopped volunteering, stopped going to club meetings, and spends almost all of her time sitting in a dim living room alone, either watching TV or staring out of the window.

Your usually calm and in control father has seemed agitated and nervous the last few times you have seen him. He whispers to himself and spends most of the day standing at the windows, peering through the blinds at the neighbors. On several occasions he has pulled you aside to tell you about strange thoughts he has been having such as neighbors trying to take things or creatures living in the walls.
It is upsetting when you realize that your parents are coping with mental health concerns, whether it is depression, delusions, paranoia, or other concerns. Mental health should be an important focus of your elderly care plan whether you notice distinct patterns of unusual behavior or just want to make sure your parents are as emotionally strong and healthy as possible. During Mental Health Month this May turn your focus to learning more about mental and emotional health and finding ways to improve and protect the health of your parents and yourself.

Try some of these tips for improving and protecting mental and emotional health throughout Mental Health Month and the entire year:

Be aware. It may be uncomfortable to confront changes in your elderly parents' mental health, but ignoring it or trying to deny it only worsens the situation over time. Being honest with yourself and with your parents shows your love and concern for them and gives you the opportunity to seek the treatment or help you need to manage their concerns and give them the highest quality of life possible

Talk about it. It is common for people coping with mental health issues to not be aware of the extent of the problems themselves. A person with depression may know she is feeling a little down, but may not realize that she has completely withdrawn from friends and family and is no longer taking care of herself. Someone with delusions and paranoia sees his fears as completely rational and justified, not realizing that they are unfounded and could be leading to destructive behavior. Take the time to talk to your parents about issues you observe so they are aware of your concerns and can be a partner in seeking help

Hire assistance. The most common threats to the mental and emotional health of seniors are depression and loneliness. These occur due to perceived loss of independence, increased physical and mobility limitations, decreased social interaction, and loss of friends and family members. Get in touch with an home care agency that specializes in mental health in your area to discuss hiring a caregiver to be with your parents during times you are not available. This extra assistance can restore their sense of autonomy as well as provide meaningful conversation and companionship to keep their spirits higher.
If you are concerned your elderly parents are suffering from mental health problems, do not hesitate to get in touch with their doctor to discuss your concerns and find out what you can do to ease these problems and find ways to improve your parents' quality of life. 

If you have an aging loved one and are considering home health care services, contact Interim HealthCare today