How to deal with your elderly parents' negativity and complaining


As much as you love your parents, older people can be prone to a moan, and this can bring us down, especially when we’re trying to help them. Perhaps your loved one has always been a complainer, but perhaps they’ve got worse with age, or maybe they were always very cheery and positive and so this is unusual for them.


Coping with the natural changes that come with growing older can be tough to deal with. Most of us, sa we age will find we are physically less able, so we can’t do all the things we used to, and we may also find our memories can’t be relied on as before, which can be so frustrating. So it’s no wonder older people can be cantankerous at times. However, there are some other reasons why elderly people may become more grumpy.



A reaction to an infection

 Something as simple as a urinary tract infection can actually change the behaviour of an older person. This rarely happens in younger people, so we’re not quick to connect a negative attitude to an infection, but it’s well worth checking out as this could simply be a symptom of a UTI. Have the doctor treat the infection, and a cheerier mood could be the result. If your parent is in pain, this too can cause them to be more grumpy, so a health check could be the solution.


Mood altering medication

 Some medications too can impact mood and behaviour. If this negativity is out of character, then it’s worth thinking if new drugs have been prescribed recently. These could be responsible. We tend to think of side effects as solely physical, but many medications can also affect our state of mind. There are many drugs that are known to affect personality in some patients and these include

commonly used medications such as statins, anti-inflammatories, blood pressure medication and anti-seizure medications. All of which are regularly taken by many elderly people.



A lack of purpose

 It’s easy to forget that your parent was once a busy, hard working person, raising children, keeping the house nice, taking part in their hobbies. Now they may have no responsibilities, nothing to do, and their grumpiness may be out of boredom. If they have limited mobility, they can’t simply choose to take a walk, their life has changed and this can be hard to adjust to.


Ways to help

 Your first port of call should be the doctor. A health check could raise an issue with medication, or an infection that is causing the low mood. If you feel that boredom and frustration are the cause then it’s time to arrange some activities. You can’t be with them all the time, so perhaps a caregiver could be hired to take your parent out and about and spend time with them. Remember your own mental health too, it can be difficult looking after someone you love when they are being grumpy, so sharing the work with a hired caregiver can be very beneficial for everyone involved.

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