Text◆Deng Zhigang (Deputy Director of Nursing and Attention Home, Registered Social Worker), “Ming Pao”
Elderly people have conflicts and disputes with others, or act in ways that harm others or themselves, leading to tragedies. The news frequently reports the situation, which is cause for concern.
(Hong Kong News) When the elderly are emotionally troubled without proper venting or processing, it not only affects their daily life, interpersonal social interaction, and sleep quality, but also increases the risk of emotional diseases, such as depression, anxiety, etc., which is harmful to physical and mental health. and life-threatening. Therefore, it is very important to help the elderly manage their emotions properly.
Causes include environmental and personal factors
The most common emotional illnesses among the elderly include depression and anxiety, and the causes are simply divided into environmental factors and personal factors.
When the external environment and things change, such as socioeconomic, political, and family conditions, the elderly have difficulty adapting and feel pressured, resulting in different emotional reactions such as tension, worry, fear, resentment, and depression.
It seems that during the COVID-19 epidemic, under the influence of social distance and isolation measures, the daily routine of the elderly has been disrupted and social activities have stopped, making the elderly feel helpless, lonely and depressed. The survey found that during the fifth wave of the epidemic, many elderly people suffered from negative emotions such as depression, anxiety or loneliness because they were worried that the infection would affect their families.
Changes in the elder’s personality or situation may lead to different negative emotions, including:
1.Decline in physical functions (such as hearing, vision, mobility, swallowing ability, etc.)
2.Suffering from diseases (such as dementia, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, cancer, various pain conditions, etc.)
3.Death or departure of relatives (such as death of spouse, immigration or relocation of children, etc.)
4.Change of role (such as retirement, unemployment, etc.)
5.Thinking patterns (such as pessimistic thinking, avoiding facing problems, etc.)
6.Personality (such as being overly nervous about things, stubborn, not accepting other people’s opinions, not wanting to trouble others, etc.)
Physical deterioration, loss of dependence, triggers depression
As age increases, the elderly’s physical functions decline, their ability to take care of themselves and activities weaken. Coupled with the impact of the disease, they need to take long-term medication, follow-up visits, and endure the pain, discomfort and different medical procedures caused by the disease; while the frail elderly even have to take a bath, such as Assistance is required for toileting, eating, etc. These changes affect self-image, damage self-esteem and self-confidence, and even deny oneself, thinking that one is useless and worthless, feeling depressed, hopeless, and meaningless about life and survival, and suffering physical and mental suffering. Suffering, emotional distress.
In addition, the elderly will face various losses after retirement, including financial income, job satisfaction, power and social status. In the family, the person loses his role as the breadwinner of the family and changes from the previous role of caregiver to the one being cared for.
When their children grow up and leave the family after marriage, the elderly lose the support of their children; and when their spouse dies, they lose the dependence and emotional support of their spouse. Many changes make the elderly feel worried, confused and uneasy about their later life. They may also feel abandoned and develop depression, anxiety and other emotions.
Family members take the initiative to care and understand their needs
Emotional distress among the elderly does not occur overnight, and emotional changes are not invisible. When family members or caregivers notice the following behavioral signs in an elder, they must pay extra attention and deal with them as soon as possible.
1.Lack of interest in most things and loss of motivation to participate
2.Get tired easily and have difficulty concentrating
4.Significant increase or decrease in weight or appetite
5.insomnia or drowsiness
6.Feel that life is worthless
7.Persistent low mood (e.g. feeling sad, empty, helpless)
8.Have thoughts of death or suicide
Anyone may face emotional distress, but many elderly people’s physical condition, traditional culture and thoughts, and personal personality affect their expression and willingness to seek help. Therefore, as caregivers, family members, and even the general public, we can take the initiative to care, understand their difficulties and needs, and provide assistance to avoid unfortunate events due to emotional problems of the elderly.
Rebuilding social networks Cultivate interest and exercise more
Encouragement and support from family members and caregivers, as well as tolerance and acceptance from the general public, are very important to help the elderly improve their emotional distress.
Through talking, listening, sharing, companionship, etc., we can make the elderly feel cared for, respected and supported, rebuild interpersonal social relationships, and reduce the sense of alienation and helplessness. We can also try to find out the reasons for the emotional distress of the elderly. Follow up early.
Participate in various recreational activities
In addition, a healthy and regular lifestyle, including getting up on time, eating, participating in activities or rehabilitation training, etc., can help eliminate negative emotions, make daily life more fulfilling, and reduce depression due to emptiness or boredom in life. have a bee in one’s bonnet.
At the same time, the elderly are encouraged to develop personal interests, such as music, calligraphy, planting, etc., and are invited to participate in various social and recreational activities that are beneficial to the body and mind, such as chess, singing, dancing, memory training, etc., so as to increase communication and interaction with others. Build more mutual support networks.
Take medicine regularly to stabilize your condition
In addition, the elderly can be encouraged to do more appropriate exercises according to their physical condition, such as walking, relaxation exercises, stretching exercises, etc., which can help strengthen muscles and improve metabolism. During exercise, the brain produces the nerve substance serotonin. ), can increase happiness and happiness.
Finally, encouraging the elderly to follow the instructions of medical staff and take regular medication and check-ups to stabilize their condition can reduce the anxiety and anxiety caused by worrying about the worsening of their condition. At the same time, teaching the elderly to learn to think from multiple perspectives and adopt a positive and positive attitude to adapt to various challenges in life will help reduce the possibility of thinking too hard or feeling self-pity.
Medication and non-drug treatments can help the elderly manage and improve their emotional problems. If in doubt, seek medical advice.
◆Drug treatment, including anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, and benzodiazepines
◆Non-drug methods, including rebuilding social support networks, maintaining a regular daily routine, cultivating interests and encouraging participation in leisure activities, doing more physical and mental stretching exercises, managing the condition, and changing personal thinking patterns