Elder Care in Petaluma CA

Being the family caregiver for someone with a mental illness often comes with a mixed bag of emotions for both you and the elder. One minute they are in a great mood and the next they are filled Elder-Care-Petaluma-CAwith anger, confusion, and an aggressive behavior. About 15 percent of older adults over the age of 60 suffer from a mental disorder and that number is going to continue to increase, especially since the senior population has grown significantly over the last few years. If you are caring for an elderly loved one with a mental illness, it is important that you understand the emotional roller coaster of the elder in order to be prepared for any unexpected behaviors or moods. Here is some information on caring for someone with a mental illness that will greatly help you in your new caregiving role.

Educate yourself
If your loved one has been diagnosed with a mental disorder, do your homework to find out everything you need to know about the condition. By reading up on her disorder, you will have a better understanding of what the older adult is feeling and how it affects her personality, giving you a little boost of confidence while caring for her. Research websites on the condition or join a support group to get the information you need, while also getting the opportunity to meet other caregivers who can give you advice. Also, talking to your loved one will give you tons of insight on what she is feeling. If possible, ask her what she feels when she becomes mentally unstable and what medications she is taking. Some prescriptions have side effects that could cause some of the symptoms the senior is feeling, so speak with the doctor on this topic.

Offer emotional support
The older adult you are providing elder care may feel better after talking about her symptoms, feelings, and thoughts, so let her. Become a sounding board for your loved one, letting her freely discuss her problems without saying much back. You could ask how she is feeling and what you can do to help.

Dealing with difficult behavior
When caring for someone with a mental illness, there are going to be some challenging days. While you can’t prevent it from happening, it would help to have a plan in place for when these difficult situations occur. Write down several different scenarios that could occur, followed by a plan to improve the situation. If you need help creating this plan, speak with your loved one’s team of health care providers for help developing the plan.

Care for yourself
Your elderly parent or loved one needs you, but you can’t provide the care she needs if you are not taking care of yourself. Having a well-balanced diet, staying active, finding time to enjoy leisurely activities, and having regular checkups are all ways you can release any stress you have, as well as stay on top of your own health.

Caring for someone with a mental illness can be a frustrating and exhausting experience, but with these tips you will be more prepared for the good and bad days that lie ahead.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care services in Petaluma, CA, call At Your Service Home Care.  Call today! Sonoma County: (707) 238-5700 or Marin County: (415) 942-8955


Rethink Mental Illness. “Supporting someone with a mental illness.”

World Health Organization. “Mental health and older adults.”