If you are taking care of a loved one who suffers from a mental illness, you may feel helpless in the situation and you are not alone. It is common to feel stuck on how to help since it is not as obvious as someone experiencing a loss of mobility or high blood pressure. However, for someone who suffers from depression or any other mental illness, having a support system is an initial step in getting better. You can be there for your loved one in the following ways:
You can ensure your loved one is receiving the right care by keeping track of their medical records and making copies. We also suggest you create a folder or paper of what’s been diagnosed and treated, so you know what to discuss with their doctor and how far they are in their progress.
It can be hard for seniors with mental illness to remember if they have taken their pills. You can help your loved one maintain their medication schedule by organizing their pills into daily portions and keeping them next to a calendar. Each day they have taken their pills, you or your loved one should mark the calendar to keep track and avoid mistakes.
During treatment, change doesn’t happen all at once. Pay attention to new behavior your family member may show and take note to describe what you’re seeing. By taking a look at past notes, you can keep track of their progress or identify any unusual side effects.
Your loved one may not like the idea of you taking charge of their treatment especially if they are unaware of the doctor appointments you make. Make a shared calendar so they can feel involved in the process and in control of their health.
Even if you live with an elderly family member with a mental illness, It can be easier than you think for their mood swings to go unnoticed. Make sure to check in with how they’re feeling and have conversations regularly. If you start to notice signs of depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, reach out for professional help.
According to Forbes, socially isolated seniors have a 59% higher risk of mental and physical decline than those who do not experience social isolation. It can be difficult for older adults to escape social isolation if they face mobility issues or are unable to drive. Make sure to accommodate your loved one, whether it’s through transportation assistance or connection via technology, so they can have necessary social interaction with friends and family to avoid loneliness.
Exercise not only benefits you physically but mentally as well. Older adults can maintain both their physical and mental health by doing at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Doing a simple walk around the neighborhood or some yoga stretches together can help their body release a happy hormone called endorphins. Exercise endorphins help reduce stress, improve sleep, and keep them happy. Make sure to consult a physician before starting any physical activity or fitness program.
You can be a solid support system for your loved one by simply showing you’re there for them and their mental health journey. Start by making sure they’re taking care of themselves and receiving the additional help they need. You can read more about seniors and depression here.
1+1 Cares is a referral agency that works for clients and caregivers. We match caregivers with clients and inform them of your requirements. We work for you so you and your loved one can have a safe, enjoyable caregiving experience. Search for a caregiver near you.
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