Help Your Elder Get Over a Bad Day

Have you ever noticed that your elder is sometimes exhibiting a negative attitude towards practically everything?

If you noticed this change you’re not alone. Many children often complain that their mom or dad had changed and they do not understand.

“Grouchy, grumpy, bad mood, tantrums, cursing, fighting, or suspicious”…this is how they describe their elders.

All these equate to a bad day as it creates a negative environment.

During these bad days, all household members will have a bad day too. It’s contagious!

Therefore it’s very important that we learn how to deal with this problem as it arises.

However not all elders are the same.Each has his own unique way of expressing his negative feelings. And so the proper approach to these problems is also not the same for all.

When my mama was still in her late 70’s she was all  too suspicious of people around her. She usually accuses the househelper of stealing her clothes, her money, her things, and even her denture! All day she would hound and nag the househelper to the point of making her cry. Because of my mama’s unfounded suspicions, househelpers never last.

At other times my mama would leave the house to tell other people that we, her children had forsaken her, …that we do not care anymore about her. That’s what she felt about us. She impresses upon her friends that she’s the only good person in this world.

These issues went on and on for years until I realized that it’s all useless to dwell so much on this problem. Logical reasoning has no place here. There’s no use arguing over an issue especially if you know that your elder is already unreasonable.

There are several ways to approach such a situation which may help diffuse the tension among household members.

  1. Do not reject what’s going on with your elder(s). Accept the change. Acknowledging their present situation will help in understanding them better. It’s totally understandable that you yourself will be in a state of denial when the changes come. The major change that you’ll experience is that there’ll be reversal of roles. You become the carer and the decision-maker while your elder becomes the receiver of care and eventually becomes fully dependent on you.
  2. Ask what’s upsetting the elder. Maybe there’s really a reason for such a behavior. Perhaps the elder is in pain. Pain may be physical or emotional. These all add up to stress.
  3. See to it that your elder is not moved from one house to another. Transferring houses, whether from 1 child to another,or from 1 sibling to another, or from 1 family to another  is very confusing for the elder. Adjusting to a new environment and new faces is very stressful.
  4. Spend some time conversing or singing with your elders. It makes them happy to see you because they feel more secure with you around.
  5. Identify their ‘feel good’ objects. My mama has teddy bear stuffed toys which make her smile whenever I hand these to her. Her bad day turns to a good one. It diverts her attention, relieving her from stress and anger.

I believe the key to a harmonious relationship with elders is to understand them well. For every problem there’s a solution.

Never give up on them. They too never gave up on us.

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