Caregivers frequently face the wrath of the elderly, which provides a unique challenge. Psychological and social factors such as helplessness, health problems, and reliance on family all contribute to the elderly’s inexplicable wrath. Geriatric care physicians observe that anger management is a problem for their elderly patients.
Maya , a Chennai-based attorney, remembers her irritated and angry 82-year-old grandfather. The once-friendly and mild-mannered senior had turned sour. We experienced his tantrums in 2019 during the COVID quarantine. We knew he was lonely since he spent so much time sitting around doing nothing,” she stated.
Maya relocated her grandparents into her house since she was concerned about his behavior. This deal, however, did not benefit her grandfather in any manner. “For him, the news was a big source of concern. “If we didn’t stick to the COVID procedures, he’d get angry and start fighting with us,” she says.
Maya believes that while under the influence of the tranquilizers, he felt better. He ultimately went to a therapist to help him deal with his anger, but he still had outbursts. The immediate cause of her grandfather’s wrath was fear of a pandemic, but he had a history of losing his cool.
Anger in the elderly: The Concerns
Ravi Kiran, who was born and raised in Bengaluru, talks about his famously angry grandfather. Even when he was young, people knew that he was a very angry man, and that image has only grown. If his routine is even slightly changed, he gets angry and won’t eat. It takes him a while to settle down and cool down. “My uncle and grandma worry about his health every time he gets mad and skips meals,” he said. The fact that his grandpa won’t see a psychologist has only added to their worries.
Most of the time, bodily, psychological, and social problems lead to anger and other changes in behavior in older people. The pros have more to say about this:
Biological factors: It can’t be argued that as a person gets older, their body changes in many ways. This often causes problems with the body. Dr. Kedar Tilwe, a senior psychiatrist at Fortis Hospitals in Mulund and Vashi, Mumbai, thinks that “changes in blood pressure, thyroid, and blood sugar levels lead to changes in behavior.” He says that Alzheimer’s disease and dementia should be ruled out as possible causes of this behavior.
A Goan psychotherapist named Preetha Mathew explains how an imbalance in hormones can lead to angry behavior. “During menopause (in women) and andropause (in men), estrogen and testosterone levels tend to drop a lot, which makes mood swings happen quickly,” she says.
Dr. Tilwe has noticed that the living situations of the elderly often cause them to have mental health problems. “Coming to terms with retirement or “empty nest syndrome” can be depressing and can eventually lead to outbursts,” he says about how to deal with anger.
Mathew goes on to say that not being cared for or losing a partner aren’t the only things that can make it hard to deal with anger.
Dr. Tilwe says that, from a sociological point of view, the social duties of the old change over time and place. “If their older son speaks up, for example,” he says, “he/she tends to react in a troublesome way.”
“Having to always depend on someone else to do things they used to be able to do themselves makes things worse,” says Mathew.
Managing anger in the elderly- Our Conclusions
Usually, a person’s family and caretakers are the first ones to feel their anger. Experts say the following are good ways to deal with the concerns of the elderly:
Even though it can be hard to deal with an angry senior, family members should be kind and patient. Caregivers need to keep their cool and realize that their charges’ quick reactions come from a place of fear. “They need to make an effort to figure out what sets them off,” says Dr. Tilwe.
Experts say that parents should listen to their child’s problems instead of reacting to his or her temper tantrum. Mathew says that you shouldn’t talk down to them because it will make them angry. Talk to them like you’re talking to a child. They need to talk with someone.
Anger management counseling: Elderly people have a hard time getting used to new places. Therapy can help kids learn how to deal with their anger, but it might be hard to make them go. Mathew says that therapy meetings should be as casual as possible. Tell them that someone will be home soon and able to talk to them about their problems.