Care for a Loved One with a Mental Illness

Care for a Loved One with a Mental Illness

Senior Care for a Loved One with a Mental Illness

Talking to your elder loved one about senior care and support can be difficult for both you and them. It can be even more difficult when your elder loved one happens to suffer from a mental illness. Most individuals try to avoid the topic all together as they fear the reaction of their elder (which is most likely to be violent and irrational, and definitely upset). However, leaving this topic unaddressed can have serious consequences, as seniors are prone to suffer from more than one mental illness, which can include depression, substance abuse, and dementia (and their related disorders). Psychological issues, along with physical and cognitive issues that arise naturally as a result of aging, when occurring together, can cause serious detrimental effects on seniors’ health as well as their family members.

Strategies for Having the Tough Conversation

When your elder loved one happens to suffer from a mental illness, such as mood disorders, it can become difficult



to take care of them at home, and the time comes when additional senior care is needed. But first, it’s important to convince your elder loved one of this fact, without letting the conversation go awry.

You can achieve this by following some of these tips:

  • Ensure medication is being taken in a timely manner to make sure their anxiety levels are in check and they are mentally accessible.
  • Be sure both of you are calm to make it easier for both of you to listen to what the other has to say.
  • In the case that resistance occurs (which can take the form of avoidance or emotional outbursts), be sure to keep your cool and attempt to talk to your elder loved one in an understanding and empathic manner. Remember that their reaction stems from not knowing what could happen after they leave the house, and they are resistant to change.
  • “If at first you don’t succeed, try again.” If the conversation doesn’t go according to how you had planned it, take a step back, wait for the heat to cool, and approach the topic again, from a different and more subtle angle.

As you’re having the conversation, be sure to:

  • let your elderly know that you care for them
  • be sure to offer empathy and understanding
  • let them feel they have the upper hand in making the final call
  • instill in them a sense of security that you will not forget about them after they are admitted to a senior care facility
  • let them know it’s just as difficult for you as it is for them
  • let them know you are there for them

And most of all, remember to BE PATIENT!


The nurses at Partners in Healthcare are available to talk with you about your in-home senior care needs including how to stay healthy at home with RN managed affordable care. We are a private duty home care agency that provides elder home care serves in the Orlando area, call us at 407-788-9393.


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