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Elderly Care Profile: Facing the Emotional Consequences of Diminished Physical Ability

Elderly Care in Natick, MA

Edward has always been extremely independent. He avoided retirement when all of his friends were leaving their jobs because his career gave him a sense of purpose and importance. At the age of 70, however, he was dealing with so many physical limitations that he was no longer able to safely and effectively maintain his position, so he retired.

Even with these limitations, he was able to maintain a fairly active lifestyle by continuing to participate in his favorite pastimes and joining clubs with some of his friends from his career days. As the years progressed, however, so did his mobility and physical challenges. By the age of 80 he was no longer able to golf, had to give up his weekly bowling games, and was missing club meetings because of pain, stiffness, and inability to drive.

Edward’s three sons have watched him go through the stages of his physical limitations and saw that as his mobility worsened and his pain and stiffness increased, he began to show more signs of anxiety and depression. Their usually jovial, enthusiastic father was sullen, angry, and had a quick temper. He no longer wanted to spend time with them and was resistant to any plans that they made for them to come over and do things with him.

Concerned about his health, the three men contacted the elder care agency in their father’s area to ask what they could do about these sudden changes. Through these conversations they found out that their father was likely experiencing depression and loss of motivation related to his physical limitations. The agency recommended they talk to Edward about his feelings and consider hiring a non-medical caregiver to help him cope with his physical changes and the emotional consequences of those changes through a customized care plan that involved more physical activity and outings.

Changes in their capabilities can be extremely stressful for elderly adults, particularly those who have always been accustomed to living an active, engaged, and independent lifestyle. If your aging parents are coping with reduced physical capability due to lingering effects of injuries, side effects of illnesses, arthritis, or just reduced mobility, it is important to recognize the emotional consequences they may also face. Understanding that these limitations can lead your parents to experience depression, anxiety, feelings of isolation, and loss of motivation allows you to treat your parents with greater compassion and nurturing so you can protect their mental and emotional health.

There are many ways you can help your parents cope with the emotional consequences of physical limitations, including:

  • Talking to their doctor about treatments that may help them overcome the effects of their limitations so they can regain some of their activity level
  • Encouraging participation in a wider variety of activities they are capable of enjoying
  • Encouraging regular social interaction by having a non-medical caregiver offer transportation accompaniment and mobility support
  • Remember that physical limitations do not necessarily mean cognitive limitations, and make your parents active, independent controllers of their elderly care plan.

If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Metrowest Boston, MA, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (781) 559-0073