How To Help A Loved One Who Has Behavior Challenges



Behavior challenges of aging can bring some challenging behavior for our loved ones. Also, our parents do not always enjoy this journey of their life.
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Decline in mental functioning
  • Sudden set back in physical capability
These behavior challenges can make our seniors grumpy, irritated, stubborn, and even rude. Anger is usually a side effect of aging; we all must admit and agree on this fact. And the sooner we do it, the better we will be in a position to understand our parents. For one thing, we all have to face this situation in our lifetime. So, we need to prepare ourselves as well our parents for these challenging behaviors.

Understanding senior behavior

It is important to realize, talking to our parents about their behavior is one of the best things we can do. However, the idea is not as simple as it sounds. For this reason, we will be learning other tips and steps to handle the stubborn behavior of our seniors. But before that, let us understand the reasons behind the sudden behavioral change.

What causes challenging behavior?
  • The sudden changes in their lifestyle
  • Onset of diseases
  • Accidents
  • Surgeries
  • Chronic illness
  • Decline in emotional well being
As a result, these all will cause our parents to become bitter, rude or stubborn. In this case, let us explore some of the possible reasons for anger in our seniors:
  • Deteriorating physical health
Important to realize, physical health takes a back seat, with advancing age. Another key point, our seniors fall prey to chronic illness, disability, and debilitating arthritic pain causing bad behavior. For this reason, all these require frequent visits to the hospital for treatment. Which eventually makes our seniors vulnerable and left with feelings of fear and insecurity of losing their independence. All these can make our aging parents angry, stubborn, irritated and bitter.
  • Stroke
Elderly individuals are more susceptible to suffer strokes. Which causes them to become angry and irritated. Research done at various institutes have found that about 32% of stroke victims are unable to control their bad behavior.
  • Problems in the family
Problems in the family are one of the biggest reasons for the sudden unfavorable change in the behavior of our elderly parents. Knowingly or unknowingly the other members of the family might have changed their behavior towards their parents. It might also be possible, that they have stopped involving their parents in major decisions. It may so happen, that the children and other members have stopped communicating with their parents. All these can make senior individuals grumpy, sad, depressed and eventually they become irritated, angry and stubborn.
  • Depression
Depression is also one of the major reasons for senior anger and challenging behavior. With anger being one of its many symptoms. The root causes of depression include recent loss, social isolation and much more.
  • Dementia
Dementia is one of the major accompaniments of old age. Our senior parents suffer from many dementia-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Such diseases often cause our parents to exhibit anger and other emotional outbursts. These mental disorders, cause much stress on part of our seniors owing to a poor cognitive functioning and its subsequent side effects too challenging behavior.
  • Medications
Certain medications, especially meant for treatment of chronic illnesses can significantly affect the behavior of our elderly loved ones. Change in behavior, anger, irritation sometimes occurs as side effects of various medications.
  • Anxiety and fear
As our parent’s age, they somehow live in constant fear of illness and death. Such a type of constant fear causes a sudden change in behavior. Which is exhibited as anger, irritability, and stubbornness.

Tips to handle challenging behavior such as bitter or stubborn

First of all, we need to understand that our parents are angry because of their health and other issues, unknown to us. Put yourself in their place and analyze their situation. Imagine that your health is deteriorating, and how worthless, helpless you are feeling.
When we place ourselves in their situation, we are in a much better position to help our seniors deal with their stubbornness and anger. The following tips shall help you handle your parents when they are stubborn:
  • Communicate
This is perhaps one of the most powerful skills to help you in such cases. When you talk to your parents regarding their health and well being, they feel wanted and protected. You can then gradually ask them about the sudden change in their behavior, and what is making them angry and stubborn. In many cases, you may surprise to find out, that their family members and their behavior are the reason behind their sudden change in the attitude.
  • Ask a professional to help
When direct communication with your parents doesn’t seem to help, then you can always ask a professional to step in. There may be certain issues that they don’t want to discuss with you; and hence in such cases, a professional becomes a better alternative.
  • Socializing
Ask your parents to meet their friends often. Moreover, you can also suggest them various activities, that could keep them busy.
  • Physical activity
You can suggest some light exercises to your parents. Being physically active has a great impact on their mood and energy levels.
  • Hobbies
All of us have certain interests, some hobbies, which after a certain age, we do not get the chance to practice. If your parents are behaving in a weird manner and are often angry and stubborn, you can always suggest them to do activities that make them happy. For example, listening to your favorite song, or reading a book, or gardening, all can make your seniors happy. Doing or participating in activities that make our seniors happy, can do a lot more good to make their mood better.
All the above-mentioned tips can be of some help to the caregiver or family member, in taking care of senior parents who have become bitter and stubborn. Find gratitude and happiness in the hardest of the situation will help you make the best of any challenging behavior or situation. Check out this site for more information. Also, check out this past post I have done on negative emotions.

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