Identifying Signs that Your Parent is Suffering Stress after a Disaster
September is National Preparedness Month. This is the time not just to think about the different ways that your parent can prepare themselves for the possibility of an emergency or disaster situation, but also how you are going to be able to help them get through the aftermath of such an event. The emergency does not end just because the storm or other event is over. Instead, there will be effects and results that can make a tremendous impact on your parent’s health, wellbeing, and quality of life even long after the disaster has ended. Identifying the signs that your aging parent is suffering stress after a disaster is the first step in helping them to overcome this stress and move forward.
Some of the signs and symptoms that your aging parent might be suffering stress after a disaster include:
- New or increased difficulty expressing themselves
- Difficulty sleeping
- Getting extremely frustrated quickly
- Jumpiness or anxiety
- Sudden reliance on or increased use of controlled substances such as alcohol or sleeping pills
- Not being able to pay attention
- New or worsened headaches
- Stomachaches or digestive problems
- Tunnel vision
- Not wanting to leave home
- Fearing being alone
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling guilty about getting through the emergency or disaster situation with less of an impact than others
- Fearing interaction with strangers
- Not completing tasks as well as they should
- Sudden development or worsening of cognitive symptoms such as disorientation
- Challenges with concentration
- Wanting to maintain strict control over everything in their lives
If your notice that your aging parent is showing signs of stress and you fear that it is making a negative impact on their health and wellbeing, do not hesitate to get them to a doctor as soon as possible. They can evaluate your parent and determine the extent to which the stress is influencing them. They can also make recommendations for how to address this stress so that your parent can overcome the challenges and protect their mental, emotional, and physical health. It is also important that you pay attention to your own health and wellbeing so that you can protect yourself and continue being the best caregiver possible as they age in place.
Stress can be extremely difficult for your aging parent and if they are going through this type of response to an emergency or disaster situation, starting home care for them can be one of the best decisions that you can make to help them through. The personalized care approach, support, and companionship of an in-home senior care services provider can be truly meaningful for your parent to help them to not only confront the fact that they are dealing with stress related to the experience, but also to get through that stress and manage it from a healthy and productive place. This can mean putting them into a better mental and emotional place, helping them to feel stronger and more ready for the possibility of another emergency, and better focused on enjoying life as they age in place.