Sometimes staff and family members are caught off guard by a major change in behavior — for the worst — among older adults struggling with, even physically fighting against, their transition to assisted living, nursing homes, and other senior care settings.
In other cases, their behavior is completely different after the move. Case in point: this article in “The New Old Age” section of The New York Times, which tells the painful story of an 84-year-old nursing home resident whose son described her as “a monster.” As a parent, she was abusive, a gambler and alcoholic who regularly “beat her son.” In the nursing home, she was quiet, a loner, but eventually became “generally well liked and sociable.” There, in that environment where no one really knew of her past and where no family came to visit, she was a different person.
Written by doctor, author and geriatric psychiatrist Marc E. Agronin, the piece illustrates a sad truth, a delicate issue that is not often discussed among caregivers. So many articles, resources, and conversations about being a caregiver for an aging parent or relative refer to that person as a “loved one.” This is not always the case. It is important for professional caregivers, friends, and family members to be sensitive to these complex situations, offering support rather than judgement — and a listening ear — to those who are struggling with both the past and present in this way.
Read more here: In Complex Relationships, Senior Communities May Be Best Option.