Caring for a family member showing signs of memory loss or experiencing mental illness is often more difficult than providing physical care. For example, doing a dressing change requires a few hours a day. In comparison, ensuring that a physically capable parent with Alzheimer’s does not wander into the nearby woods is a twenty-four-hour job. Furthermore, knowing what to say and how to say it to prevent making the situation worse takes skill, patience, and experience.
Many family caregivers must provide physical and mental care. Often a medical condition leads to depression or increases underlying anxiety. Sometimes threats of suicide are a concern. So what do you say if your loved one share that they don’t want to live any longer?
Medications frequently cause hallucinations or delusions in the elderly, especially at night. Do you accept whatever they say or attempt to correct them? A person experiencing a hallucination believes what they see is real as much as you believe you are seeing what you see now.
These situations are more than just difficult for caregivers. They are frightening and can be dangerous to the safety of the caregiver and family member if not handled correctly. “Interpersonal Skills” provides insights into some more common mental health conditions. In addition, you can find examples of ways to handle some of the more difficult interactions caregivers encounter.
Handling Difficult Situations
Patients with serious medical conditions often experience severe anxiety and depression. After being involved in life-altering accidents, some become suicidal. What do you say if someone tells you they don’t want to live any longer?
Children with developmental disabilities often have medical conditions as well. If one of these gets off balance, such as when an infection occurs, the child may act out and forget skills previously known. What should the caregiver do? Discipline them, divert their attention, or sedate them? Learn more about what to do in these and other difficult situations.
Non-Memory Related Disorders and Conditions
With 1:5 people in the USA having a mental health diagnosis, you will likely know someone who struggles with mental illness. Patients often experience depression and anxiety associated with serious illness. In addition, medications frequently cause side effects such as hallucinations and delusions. Furthermore, many medical conditions develop mental health symptoms as the condition worsens.
Developmental and mental health conditions impact how people think, behave, and interact with others and encompass numerous disorders varying in severity and frequency of episodes. Many people who suffer from them may not look ill or as if anything is wrong, while others appear confused, agitated, or withdrawn. The more you know about what triggers an episode, the better prepared you are when one occurs.