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Why Is My Elderly Parent So Negative?

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A senior mother and her adult daughter sitting on a couch and arguing with each other.

How often do you experience negativity when speaking with an older parent? It can be especially heartbreaking if the person who raised us is now pushing us away. As caregivers, it can be hard to watch our loved ones struggle with their physical and mental health, and it’s important to acknowledge that this isn’t always an easy journey for them either. 

There may be several reasons that a senior parent expresses negativity, including underlying physical and mental health conditions, as well as daily challenges related to aging. Whether your parent lives in an assisted living community, memory care community, or at home, by taking steps to understand what older adults are going through, we can strive to create positive experiences for our parents and ourselves. 

Understanding Issues Associated with Aging

As we age, our bodies and minds undergo transformations that can present unique challenges to our daily lives. One of the main issues associated with aging is the decline in physical function, which can lead to reduced mobility, susceptibility to injury, and chronic health conditions. 

Additionally, cognitive changes, such as memory loss, slower cognitive function, and difficulty with language, can be concerning. The emotional and social aspects of aging can also pose challenges that affect a person’s mental health, such as loneliness, isolation, and feeling devalued by society. 

Understanding and addressing these issues with appropriate care, support, and resources can help seniors maintain their quality of life and thrive in their golden years.

Dementia & Mental Health 

It’s important to know about medical conditions that can bring negative emotions for senior parents. Dementia and depression are just a few examples of these conditions. When someone struggles with dementia, they may experience a range of emotions, including confusion, frustration, and even fear. 

Dealing with the loss of cognitive abilities can be incredibly difficult, and depression can be equally challenging. A mental health condition can create feelings of sadness, anxiety, or hopelessness. 

The 2 conditions may differ, but their effects can appear at the same time. Knowing what to look for and understanding the impact of such conditions is crucial to providing the right support and care for older parents.

Speaking with Loved Ones About Negativity

As we age, communication with our loved ones becomes more important. One of the challenges many families face is communicating effectively with older parents. 

As our parents age, they may experience changes in their hearing or cognitive abilities, making it harder to communicate clearly. It’s important to take the time to learn how to communicate effectively with your parents, whether that means using simple and clear language, speaking face-to-face, or making accommodations for hearing loss. 

Investing the time and effort to improve communication with your parents can help you speak about the challenges they may be facing and why they may be feeling negative emotions, which can strengthen your relationship and help you enjoy each other’s company.

Activities to Promote Positivity & Engagement

An energetic senior man having an early morning jog with his adult son.

As our parents get older, they may start to feel less engaged in various activities they used to enjoy. This can be disheartening for both senior parents and their children. However, there are many activities we can incorporate into our daily routines to help older parents and ourselves feel more positive and engaged. 

One option is to encourage older parents to join a social club or group, such as a book club or walking group. Taking up a new hobby, like painting or gardening, can also provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment. 

Additionally, helping senior parents volunteer or engage in community service can provide a fulfilling experience. And, of course, spending quality time with our parents by sharing a meal, watching a movie, or simply having a conversation can lift spirits and bring joy.

Seeking Professional Support

Life can be challenging, and sometimes situations arise that may seem insurmountable. Many people try to handle these situations on their own, but it’s important to know that professional help is available. 

Whether it’s a personal or professional issue, seeking help from a trained and experienced senior living professional can be incredibly beneficial. It takes courage to admit that you need assistance, but taking that first step can be life-changing for seniors who may benefit from assisted living services—as well as their children. 

Knowing that you have support and guidance can provide a sense of relief and comfort during difficult times. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help when needed—you don’t have to go through tough situations alone.

Know When to Be the Caregiver or the Companion

As a caregiver, your love and support for the person you care about knows no bounds. You devote your time, energy, and even your personal needs to ensure they are comfortable and happy. However, it’s important to recognize when to switch roles from caregiver to companion. 

This transition can be difficult, but it’s essential to maintain an open and honest relationship with senior parents. Being a companion means fostering an environment of mutual trust and respect where both parties can give and receive support. 

Remember that taking care of your needs is just as important as taking care of others, so don’t hesitate to seek help when needed. By switching roles, you can continue to create meaningful and joyful moments with your loved one.

Help Is a Phone Call Away

 If you’re seeking a welcoming space for older parents who may require more advanced care or support, we invite you to visit Brooklyn Pointe Assisted Living & Memory Care! Our team is here to answer all of your questions and address any concerns you may have regarding senior living. 

Book a tour with us today to see everything we have to offer.

Written by Angela Clark

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