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5 Signs of Emotional Distress in Older Adults

By Kevin McClarren, 9:00 am on

Seniors encounter many things in their lives that cause negative emotions. However, they may attempt to hide their feelings out of concern for their family and friends. For this reason, caregivers should know how to recognize the signs of emotional distress so they can take measures to alleviate their elderly loved ones’ pain.

1. New Physical Symptoms

Depression and anxiety can both cause physical symptoms that are upsetting to those who experience them. Your loved one may not tell you he or she is crying during the day, but he or she may mention shortness of breath or deep muscular pain. When symptoms such as these develop, arrange a doctor’s visit to rule out new medical conditions. If your loved one checks out well, ask the doctor if the new symptoms might be related to emotions.

2. Refusal to Partake in Favorite Activities

Something is likely wrong when someone who adored working in a garden lets it go brown. A senior who suddenly stops engaging in favorite activities may be emotionally distressed. Talk to your loved one about why he or she quit doing the things he or she loves, and suggest a new activity that can inspire him or her to be active again.

3. A Major Life Event Has Occurred

After the loss of a loved one or a recent health crisis, it is normal for a person to experience a significant degree of distress. However, your loved one may put on an act to avoid losing his or her independence. Ease your loved one’s worries by talking about ways to manage his or her daily routine while aging in place. For example, assistance with cooking from a Warren elder home care agency can free your loved one up to enjoy other activities.

4. Changes in Normal Habits

When a person is distraught, eating, sleeping, and exercising may all get ignored. You might notice an unexplained weight loss or see your loved one’s refrigerator is always full. Once emotional distress is affecting your loved one’s physical health, it is time to take action by talking to a doctor or therapist who can address your loved one’s physical needs along with the emotions involved.

5. Social Isolation

Isolation contributes to emotional distress, and seniors who are distraught tend to become socially isolated. Refusal to spend time with others is a huge sign a senior is emotionally distressed. Arrange for your loved one to visit with a friend or Warren home caregiver every day. This can help boost your loved one’s mood, and it ensures someone checks on his or her wellbeing regularly.

Much of the emotional stress your loved one faces can be alleviated with the support of a dedicated social companion, and a professional caregiver from Home Care Assistance might be just the solution he or she needs. In addition to companionship care, we also offer specialized Parkinson’s, stroke, and Alzheimer’s home care Warren families trust. For more information on our in-home care services, call 908.450.9400 today.