How to Deal With Irrational Elderly Parents

Elderly parents exhibiting irrational behavior is a common occurrence, and there may be health-related reasons behind it. It is important that you do not take it personally, or think that your mother or father is a bad person. 

This post is intended to share with you some perspectives on dealing with irrational elderly parents

So what kind of irrational behavior are we talking about here? 

Irrational behaviors could include any of the following:

  • Accusing you of doing something you haven’t done
  • Seeing things in the home that aren’t real (hallucinations)
  • Complaining to you about other family members when the person accused hasn’t done anything wrong
  • Getting angry for minuscule reasons
  • Feeling paranoid and highly skeptical all the time
  • Overspending or over donating
  • Feeling like a victim, and as a result, exhibiting social behavior 
  • Feeling like someone in the home is conspiring against them (paranoid schizophrenia)

As a son or daughter, you are the only one who knows your parents very well. You know their default behavior. Hence, it will be easy for you to spot out-of-character behavior. If you see anything odd or unusual, you should consult the nearest geriatrician.

The sooner you see a doctor, the earlier you will be able to know the cause or the reason behind your parents’ irrational behavior. It is most often a medical condition that forces a person to behave in a way that defies logic and reasoning. 

I would also like to add that in some cases a healthy elderly person can behave irrationally. It could be their social background or some other reason that has shaped their personality such that they behave irrationally. 

For instance, your parent could be an emotionally driven person and prefers to keep emotions over logic in all situations. We all can be emotionally driven sometimes, especially when it comes to making a decision. 

Do not jump to any conclusions in such a scenario. You can still consult a doctor, but inform the doctor that your mother or father has always been an emotionally driven person. 

I suggest you visit the doctor with your elderly mother or father. This will give them a chance to explain (or reflect upon) their behavior as well. 

And if you do find out that they are suffering from a condition such as Dementia, Diabetes, or anything else, try to become a bit agreeable in the future. Try to disengage from the conversation in a polite way. Do not add fuel to the fire by arguing with them further.  

In such a situation, it is important that you have a detailed discussion with other members of the family. Keep everyone in the loop, while making sure that your mother or father knows that you are trying to help them. 

You don’t want them to misread the situation and think that you and other family members are plotting against them or are disappointed after learning about their health condition.

It is important that you do not panic. There are state healthcare plans available that can take care of medical expenses. Medicare and Mediclaim are two such government national health insurance programs. 

Provided you have all the required documents, these plans also pay for assisted living facilities for your elderly mother or father.   

I hope now you have a better idea of dealing with irrational elderly parents. 

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