Life is a never-ending series of changes. Babies become toddlers, toddlers become school-aged kids, those kids become tweens and then teens, and teens become adults. Adulthood is not the end of change, though! Until we take our last breaths, our bodies and minds will evolve. Most people are aware of the physical changes seniors go through. Many don’t realize emotional changes are just as profound. If your loved one will be moving to assisted living in Oklahoma City in the near future, you should prepare for heightened emotional changes as you help your loved one transition into assisted living.
It’s natural for people of all ages to have good days and not so good days. Some of the most common emotional changes in seniors include:
Forgetfulness and memory lapses
Sadness or mild depression
Frustration and/or anger
Longer response time
It’s only natural to worry some of the aforementioned emotional changes could be symptoms of dementia or of a worsening major depression. When in doubt, you should talk to your loved one about your concerns and then talk to his or her physician. In the meantime, be aware some of the symptoms you’ll likely encounter are perfectly normal. Here are some examples of perplexing behaviors that aren’t necessarily indicative of a more serious problem.
Misplacing objects and forgetting names or dates. Occasional forgetfulness and memory lapses are normal. If your loved one is so forgetful he or she can’t perform simple tasks or take care of daily needs, that’s symptomatic of a larger problem.
Becoming sad or withdrawn after suffering a loss. Seniors grieve just like anyone else. It’s normal for seniors to grieve the loss of a spouse or friend or the loss of a measure of independence. Prolonged sadness or changing from an extrovert to an introvert could indicate a deeper problem.
Taking longer to absorb information. Short-term memory loss is a normal, albeit frustrating, aspect of aging. Even accomplished, highly intelligent seniors may find it tough to retain new information or embrace new concepts. This is normal. That’s why intellectual stimulation is so important in the golden years. Reading, taking classes and learning new things sharpens mental acuity. If you notice a steady and/or rapid decline in mental ability, you should have your loved one seen by a skilled geriatrician.
It’s definitely true adjusting to assisted living takes time. Some seniors settle in within a week or two, but others are still having trouble embracing their new normal after months. One of the best ways you can help your loved one transition into assisted living is to practice patience and empathy. Remind yourself moodiness, sadness and even occasional aggression are all normal and expected emotions and coping mechanisms for dealing with major change.
We hope you will consider our Village at Oakwood team a resource in this trying time. Don’t hesitate to contact us for advice and assistance.