Helping elderly parents with mental health problems should be a priority since depression and anxiety left unchecked can become a severe issue.
We will all grow older and experience the unique stressors and issues of ageing. If you are looking at a mental health clinic for your elderly parent, you must work with them and help them too.
Depression can lead to a decreased quality of life for your parent, causing them to disengage from activities, such as spending time with their friends and family and eating. Disengaging from important activities such as eating and exercising is serious. It should be cause for alarm, but you can prevent this behaviour early on if you speak about any issues and ask for help from a mental health facility.
Here are ways to effectively help your elderly parent with mental health problems:
Keep Calm With Your Elderly Parent
It is natural to feel anxious or worried about the mental health of your loved one. Still, it is crucial that you stay calm and collected when speaking to your parent about their issues. Being overly anxious or even angry will make the situation worse. It could cause your parent to put up a barrier and stop speaking about their problems altogether.
When speaking to them or interacting with them, make it clear that you are calm and are there to be compassionate and open with them. Try not to judge as they share their problems.
As we age, our mindsets shift, and we are concerned or depressed by different issues than when we were younger. Keeping calm and genuinely listening will help your parent feel more confident and encourage them to open up about their problems.
Maintain A Support System For Your Elderly Parent
A significant factor in depression and other mental health issues can be loneliness. Providing your elderly parent or parents with as much attention and support as possible can be extremely valuable to them, helping to relieve the feeling of loneliness and abandonment. You can work with your parent to create and maintain a support system that works for everyone.
You could arrange for your parent to spend time in the afternoon with your children or take them for lunches and dinners twice a week.
Their support system could include visits to a mental health facility that provides in- and outpatient care. The practitioners at these mental health clinics are professionally trained to deal with the issues that elderly patients face and can provide valuable insight and help.
Make Meal Preparation Easier For Your Elderly Parent
Assisting with meal preparation might sound like a simple act, but when an older person is depressed, they often stop eating or eat tiny and unhealthy meals. Not eating can cause fatigue, extreme weight loss, and increased mood swings. You can help your parent immensely by making their meal preparation more manageable and healthier.
Your parent will appreciate having prepared meals to eat, helping to improve their mood and their overall health. Make enough meals for at least three to five days that will not perish in the fridge. Some easy meals to prepare include soups with nutrient-rich vegetables, egg dishes that can be reheated, and pre-cut smoothies that can be prepared in a smoothie maker.
Talk Openly With Your Elderly Parent
Having an open dialogue with your parents will help them feel more comfortable and encourage them to tell you how they feel and what they are experiencing. If they attend therapy at a mental health facility, they will likely be more willing to speak to you. However, be sure not to push your parent, as this could come across as aggressive.
As well as listening to them and providing guidance or advice, it would help if you let your parent know how you are dealing with the situation yourself. Your parents still consider your feelings and would appreciate knowing how you handle the situation. Remember to keep all conversations as positive as possible without coming across as false. Mental health issues and depression should be spoken about openly rather than ignored.
Keeping calm, maintaining a support system, and speaking openly about the issues can help your parent feel supported and more in control of their emotions.
Getting Help For Your Elderly Parent