There comes a point in life when ageing relatives gradually become a little more difficult to relate with. You will notice that they don’t listen to you any more, or they criticise and complain about every little thing. To some caregivers, they’re at the receiving end of false accusations.
If you’re in this situation, it’s important to understand where exactly your old loved ones are coming from. It’s easy to dismiss their behaviour as just being stubborn, but in truth, the following may be the reasons they’re acting that way.
Need for control
Your ageing loved ones may boss you around, demanding you to do this and that to compensate for the lack of control they experience over their situation. They might have been forced to retire early because of a company lay-off, and they feel like they have lost a sense of direction in their lives. In this case, talk to them about their struggles. Take the opportunity to suggest such activities they could find purpose in as volunteering for charity work or gardening.
The need for control may also be brought by a recent fall incident. They may be feeling that the sense of independence was taken away from them. In this case, you can let them regain independence by providing them with mobility equipment for elderly people. Mobility aids give them the confidence they need in moving around again.
Grief or depression
The reality of a spouse’s death or illness can also bring about changes in your loved ones’ disposition. They may feel deeply sad about this but may try to suppress that grief. When that emotion goes unresolved for an extended period, it can turn into anger and aggression toward loved ones.
It’s then important to check on your loved ones always and try to create an atmosphere where they can talk about their feelings openly. The key to this is to be vulnerable yourself. When they see that you’re honest to them, there’s a high chance they’ll do the same.
Sometimes, it’s not your old loved ones per se but their bodies making them grumpy. For instance, as men grow older, they have lower levels of testosterone and higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This then causes anger, depression, frustration, etc. On the other hand, as women age, they experience a drop in oestrogen, making them irritable. Ask your loved ones’ doctors about the medications they can take to reduce these symptoms.
Are your old loved ones constantly bickering about everything? It’s not just because they’re being stubborn. Have an honest communication with them to know what’s happening.