Anger and irritability is a common factor of aging. When people get older, they tend to become fussy, frustrated, and impatient. Senior citizens undergo these personality changes due to a myriad of reasons. Often, the negative attitude is simply a side effect of the medication, however, the changes in personality can also be brought out by Alzheimer’s disease and types of dementia.

The Psychological Perspective

According to a psychological perspective, the negativity in old age is attributed to the regret of living a non-successful life. Eric Erickson, a German-American developmental psychologist, and psychoanalyst gave a theory on the stages of psychosocial development. The theory specified a total of eight stages that a person goes through in their life. In each stage, there is a conflict, which the person is required to resolve. If the individual completes the stage proficiently, they can move on to the next phase and subsequently, develop a healthy self-image.

In Eric Erickson’s stages of psychosocial development, the last stage features a conflict of Ego Integrity versus Despair. This stage starts after the age of 65 and compels the individual to ruminate over their life accomplishments. If the person is satisfied with their successes, they would develop ego-integrity, and benefit from the virtue of providing wisdom to young individuals. However, if they fail to be satisfied with their accomplishments, they can develop depression and feelings of hopelessness. Due to these feelings, senior citizens often exhibit a negative attitude, mostly consisting of frustrations, complaints, and interference in the lives of their family members.

Dealing with a Negative Attitude

Looking after someone who is unappreciative and negative can be quite difficult. If your loved one consistently makes sarcastic remarks or is rude towards you and their aide, your mental health can be impacted. Therefore, it is essential to find a way to rid yourself of the negative emotions brought on by their attitude. Here are a few helpful tips that you can use to maintain your mental health while caring for a frustrating personality.

Take Medical Assistance

The infuriation and rage that is displayed by the elderly, can sometimes be a result of the personality changes that occur from diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. If your loved one used to have a cheerful personality, which is now absent, there is a strong chance that their behavior is caused by a medical reason. Therefore, you can make an appointment with their doctor and ask them about medications, which can be prescribed to reduce irritability and mood swings.

Hire an agency for home health care in Arlington

Old age can also strengthen the pre-existing negative attitude in a person. If the person you are taking care of, naturally has an irritable personality, you might become a target of their negative behavior. Keeping this in mind, the healthiest approach can be to hire a home care nurse, or an aide, to take care of your parent/grandparent. Taking a distant approach to caretaking is a healthy choice. If you surround yourself with a person who constantly criticizes you, you can grow feelings of resentment towards them. However, if you a caretaker from a home care agency, you can remind yourself that the negative behavior of your loved ones is not ill-intended, rather it is natural.

Find a channel of release

Being around your loved ones can be difficult, especially if they do not offer a nurturing environment. However, this does not mean that you should not spend any time with them. You can regulate your emotions, and still spend your time with your loved ones by finding a channel to release your negative energy. You can:

  • Meditate
  • Take yoga classes
  • Get a gym membership
  • Talk to a supportive group of friends 
  • Paint or draw to demonstrate your anger or pain 
  • Play an instrument
  • Listen to music
  • Write a blog or in a journal 
  • Watch a movie/ binge-watch a show 
  • Play an interactive and invigorating videogame

Do not let their remarks get to you

Sometimes, your loved ones display a negative attitude because they feel deprived of attention. In these moments, they wish to get a reaction out of you, whether it is positive or negative. However, you must not provide them with any response, as it can enable the behavior. Instead, once they have completed their thoughts, you can respond to them with a calm or neutral statement, to show that you are not bothered by their negative comments. In doing so, you offer a subtle indication that their aggressive behavior would not be dealt with.

For your peace of mind, you can remind yourself that the reason behind their aggression is not personal. If you keep repeating this thought in your mind, you will eventually become immune to their remarks.

Talk to a therapist

If the hurtful comments come from the people you love, your mental health is bound to be affected. No person deserves to be a victim of a negative attitude or constant complaints. To deal with this issue, you can talk to a mental health professional. A therapist can help you come up with techniques to calm you down and rid yourself of the unconscious development of resentment towards your loved ones. Getting therapy would enable you to become a better caregiver and a better person for yourself.

Set boundaries

The last thing that you can do is set boundaries for yourself. To do this, you can communicate your concerns and feelings to your loved ones, so both of you can work towards creating a better relationship.

The people you surround yourself with have a significant impact on your mood. As a result, it is crucial to find a way to tackle this negativity, so that your day is not ruined. You can follow the preceding tips to deal with the complaints and the negativity, in a healthy manner. With this guide, you can safeguard your mental health, while also taking the condition of your loved ones into account.

For more senior insights, head back to the My Nurse Family blog.

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