Your elder members may be suffering from mental illness, certain symptoms of cognitive destruction or both. What can you actually do to help them in this situation? How can you help them if they are not willing for it? Other than proper assessment and medication treatment, there are some behavioral approaches that the family members should keep an eye to help elders get some relief. This requires giving proper training to caregivers how they should talk and approach elders in a way that is best for them.
You should also teach elders how they should stay calm and call you when they feel down and depressed. Read to know some tips on how you can help elders with mental illness.
- Schedule an appointment with the doctor – If you find an elder member reveals psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety, depression, paranoia or confusion, then fix an appointment with your elderly doctor specialist. Make sure you know the medical record of your patient and attend him to the doctor. Most elders need support from their family when they need to visit a psychiatrist or psychologist for their complete assessment.
- Visit a specialist for the specific problem – If an elderly person is suffering from memory loss and other psychiatric symptoms, then a good geriatrician or PCP should ask to perform necessary tests. He may refer your loved one to a neuropsychologist for comprehensive memory testing and to a psychiatrist for diagnosing and treating psychiatric symptoms as well as memory loss. The treatment includes everything starting from medications to out-patient memory support groups and at-home exercises with the help of a caregiver.
- Psychological and memory test – Some neuropsychologists visit your house for conducting psychological and memory tests of elderly patients. The results help in managing a psychiatric medication or establishing a declaration of capacity ifitdenotes that the patient cannot take medical or financial related decisions. There is actually much more to it since it is related to using psychiatric medications for the elderly people.
- Maintain a track record of the symptoms – It is necessary to make a list of the side effects of new medication and its overall effects on the family, doctor, and caregiver. Call at the doctor’s office to fix an appointment in case your elders show new symptoms for their mental health check-up. It is a wise decision that a geriatric doctor in London manages the data and consults with the doctor to ensure precision in the administration.
- Keep an eye on the activities of elders – The caregiver has to monitor the activities of elders and detect any symptom that usually takes place due to psychiatric medications for the older individuals. This may include – sweating, shortness of breath, increased depression, increased fall risk and decreased gait. The family members need to keep a note of this and report such changes to the doctor if the behavior turns worse.
- Talk in the language your elder understands – The behavioral approaches are considered to be accessible tools for the elders who have mental illness and don’t want to take psychiatric medications. These are usually prescribed by the psychiatrists or neuropsychologists. The caregivers and family members should speak with the elders in a way that is most agreeable to them for their full cooperation.
- Discuss the outcomes wisely –Family members have to set practical expectations for elders who suffer from mental illness to prevent anxiety and frustration. The doctors will talk about the potential results of the treatment with patients and repeat certain recommendations so that elders do not have a false expectation to overcome their depression.
- Improve the care provided at home – Several things can be done at home to make the life of elderly people more enjoyable and comfortable. Paint the rooms in light shades to help elders overcome depression. Make sure the elderly people with mental illness spend their valuable time outside to help them out with their symptoms and improve the overall quality of life. Include fresh fruits and veggies in their diet.
- Talk to your elders often – Elderly people should have someone with whom they can share everything. You may ask caregivers to give them sufficient space when they feel irritated and allow them to become calm by their own self. Make sure either the elderly person or the caregiver speaks at a time otherwise, no one will able to listen to each other.
- Set their own limitations – It is extremely important to remain patient with the elders and help them calm down when they feel disturbed. Many times, the elders who have a mental illness need to have some boundaries for their emotions or else they may go out of control. That can be actually be done with just a heartfelt conversation, an ear to listen, a simple hug or letting them know you really care for them.
You may visit age-well.co.uk where the specialists take special care for the medical needs of elderly people. Thus, by taking the help of caregivers, you can lend a helping hand to our loved ones in their darkest times to ease the burden and assure that they still have a good life ahead.