What Do You Do if Your Mother Becomes Mentally Ill?

Mental illness can cause many challenges for aging adults, their families, and caregivers. It can make adapting to life changes more difficult, causing your mother to refuse home care, avoid the company of her caregiver, or say no to your decision to move her to an assisted-care facility.

Most common age-related concerns such as loneliness, grief, declining health, or the loss of freedom and independence can generate anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

Patients with dementia and mental illness usually don’t like being around others. The elderly with depression often feel sad and hopeless, cry, and show mood swings, agitated, or angry behavior.

Your mother may also feel overwhelmed, confused. Studies show that confusion is the most common cause of anger and aggression in people who have dementia.

Make sure to gather as much information about your mother’s mental illness as possible and ensure she takes her medication as prescribed.

Keep communication concise and friendly and be patient, supportive, and loving. Offer a listening ear and encourage your mother to express her feelings. Show that you there for her.

Handling mood swings and anger in dementia patients can be very hard, so don’t hesitate to seek professional support.

To avoid caregiver burnout, set the boundaries, and make self-care your priority. To manage caregiver stress, try some of the following:

  • Practice mindfulness or relaxation
  • Exercise regularly
  • Stick to healthy sleep habits
  • Eat nutritious foods
  • Stay in touch with friends and family
  • Join caregiver support groups
  • Seek counseling
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