Music Therapy For Seniors

Article by Materahub – Image credits:

Music Therapy for the Elderly is becoming increasingly popular, it has a way of sparking wonderful feelings and memories within a listener. These feelings and emotions are often matched with an individual’s past experiences, providing comfort, contentment, and joy. Many older adults are facing difficult chronic conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and more. Within this aging population, they may also find themselves facing age-related issues and circumstances which affect their physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Thankfully, the use of musical techniques has been proven effective for people of all ages and abilities, including the seniors who are in need of emotional security and well- being.

What Is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy uses specific treatments that may include creation, movement, singing, and listening to music. Previous research has shown that Music Therapy can help in multiple areas of health and well-being within seniors, including physical rehabilitation and movement facilitation, an increase in people’s motivation, emotional support for clients and their loved ones, and a creative outlet to express feelings and emotions.

Music Therapy for the elderly has been proven to be effective for a variety of symptoms and trouble areas for the senior population, such as their physical, spiritual, emotional, and psychological needs. Music Therapy activates both long term and short-term recall with exercises like sing-alongs, dancing, the use of rhythm instruments, and musical association.

There is a wide range of Music Therapy treatment options available, including:

Song Selection: many seniors enjoy listening to music from their generation most, and can likely recall their favourite artists from their younger years, caregivers can choose uplifting songs that help to bring their mind to a better place, and relive past experiences that bring positive emotions.

Name a Song: a popular activity amongst seniors, caregivers and music therapists is naming songs, based off of short clips. This exercise provides elderly individuals the ability to explore their mind for old favourite tunes, and conger up memories from different decades of their life.

Sing-Along: much in the same way that seniors can find joy through song selection activities, providing the opportunity to sing-along to their favourite songs means that they can recall lyrics, and maybe even be inspired to dance if it’s within their abilities.

Playing Classical Music: Classical music is known to be relaxing and is commonly used as a way for people of all ages to unwind. By providing seniors with the opportunity to enjoy some downtime, such as before bed, they can begin to calm down and relax, creating a nurturing environment for a good night’s sleep.

The benefits and expected results of Music Therapy for the Elderly can help some of the elderly population maintain good physical and mental health, allowing them to recall old memories and fight off bouts of depression that are common in this age group. Seniors can improve their speech skills, physical movements through dance and playing rhythmic instruments, cognitive well-being skills to keep their memories active.


The different models of elderly care in Europe and the professionalisation of caregivers

Produced by Valencia InnoHub

There is a total of 868 million people over the age of 60 in the world, which represents about 12% of the global population. Quality of life and longevity are factors that depend on and vary considerably depending on the country they come from. Factors such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), pensions, health services and the favourable social environment have a significant impact on people’s life expectancy and quality of life.  However, ahead of European countries, Japan is the Asian country where older adults enjoy the longest life expectancy in the world and are in excellent health. Lifestyle and diet also influence the longevity of this social group.

Likewise, depending on the state or country you come from, the use of nursing homes, public or private facilities for elderly care or even home care for the elderly increases. In Europe, 4 models can be distinguished:

  • Nordic model
  • Continental model
  • Anglo-Saxon model
  • Mediterranean model

All these models differ in the involvement of the state in the provision of services for the elderly and in the importance of public or private insurance, the Nordic model being the one in which the state is more involved in the elderly. However, in the Mediterranean model, where there is an ageing population pyramid, the family plays a major role and it is the family which, in most cases, is responsible for the care of the elderly. In the latter model, there is less care expenditure and more pension outlays. In this model of care, mainly based on family or informal care, there is a lack of professionalisation of the sector, which can have serious consequences for the elderly.

Caring for an elderly person requires not only effort and dedication but also knowledge. For this reason, the training of caregivers is of great importance. In this way, older people and/or even dependent people benefit from the caregiver’s knowledge, caregivers can better cope with and understand certain situations and the quality of life of older people improves.

In order to be a caregiver, it is necessary to take into account not only the care of the elderly but also the training and attention needed to do so. Beyond the physical dedication that this work entails, the psychological part plays a fundamental role. Here4You, through its platform, offers a guide for carers. In this way, they can check what their soft skills are and strengthen them.

All these models offer support to older people in different ways, with more or less state support. However, we can see that all of them need well-trained caregivers in order to provide a good service and not only the elderly benefit, but also the caregivers by knowing how to react in time to certain situations. In addition to these four models we have presented, there are also other models such as the Japanese, the American or the Australian, but ultimately, they all share something in common: the care and assistance of the elderly and the professionalization of the sector.


El cuidado de ancianos: ¿cómo funciona en cada país? (2017, August 31). Wayalia.

¿En qué países es mejor ser anciano? (2014, October 1). BBC News.

Los diferentes modelos de cuidados de ancianos en Europa. (2020, December 10). Aiudo. Los mayores cuidados.

Robson. (2019, March 15). Las sorprendentes razones por las que Okinawa es el lugar del mundo con más personas mayores de 100 años. BBC News.


Loneliness of the elderly during the COVID pandemic

Article by Euro Lider

During the COVID-19 pandemic, loneliness takes on a new meaning, and in particular, loneliness of the elderly. Around the world, with the coronavirus pandemic, there is another, equally dangerous pandemic – the pandemic of loneliness.

Loneliness is now one of the most serious ailments of the elderly age, it is considered a “civilization disease”, sometimes it is also called the greatest epidemic of the 21st century. This applies not only to the elderly, but for many reasons they are often the most severely affected. In the scientific literature, the terms loneliness and solitude are used interchangeably. According to some sources, these terms have different definitions. And so, according to Dubas loneliness means “being alone with oneself, often without any physical ties or contact with other people”, and solitude may be understood as an unpleasant mental state caused by an unsatisfactory amount and quality of social and emotional interactions. It may be accompanied by anger, a sense of disappointed hopes, pessimism and helplessness [2]. Therefore, it should be understood as the fact that loneliness can be considered in two categories: as subjective, i.e. physical, and objective, i.e. psychological loneliness (there is also the possibility of both forms of loneliness at the same time.

After Mortenson, it can be stated that the loneliness of the elderly is conditioned by:

1. Cultural factors: most often they are revealed when an elderly person has to live in a nursing home or other care institution due to ill health.

2. Lonely lifestyle: considered to be more characteristic of larger cities – a lifestyle in which people choose to live alone, deprived of another person.

3. Loss of loved ones: in old age, death, also of loved ones, becomes something more common and tangible, which does not have to reduce the pain associated with it. It is worth noting here that according to the social adjustment assessment scale, which examines the level of stress associated with specific life events and the overall level of stress, the death of a spouse has the highest value – 100 points. A very important role in this situation is played by other family members or close people who, with their support and presence, can stimulate older people to further action. It should be borne in mind that loneliness resulting from the loss of important people may significantly affect the risk of depressive disorders, and even deteriorate physical condition.

4. Awareness of imminent death: the situation of older people is aggravated by the lack of future prospects. This leads to a change of thinking called “changing the time horizon”, ie focusing on the present and the past, with no prospects for the future. It is worth bearing in mind, because this belief in “no future”, reluctance to plan anything, can lead to a significant neglect of the health of the elderly, both mental and physical.

Knowing the basic reasons for the special loneliness of the elderly, you can think about the prevention of this loneliness, and ways to prevent it.

The COVID-19 pandemic has particularly affected the elderly. According to the Loneliness Report there are currently around five million one-person households in Poland. This means that every fourth of our neighbors returns to an empty apartment (and now – is trapped in it), and to a large extent these are people over sixty years of age. During a pandemic, the elderly may experience additional difficulties, such as, amongst many:

  • fear of becoming infected (yourself or your loved ones),
  • fear of death (your own or those of your loved ones),
  • fear of being separated from the family,
  • problems with sleeping
  • generalized anxiety symptoms
  • depressive symptoms,
  • compulsive hand washing, disinfection
  • symptoms of post-traumatic stress,
  • increased use of substances (nicotine, alcohol).:

Additionally, worsening of the already occurring symptoms can take place

How to support the elderly during a pandemic?

There are many different ways to support the elderly during the social isolation caused by a pandemic. At the beginning, it is worth considering quite basic things, but ensuring physical and mental comfort, so as to eliminate the anxiety and fears that arise during isolation and thus ensure the greatest possible physical and mental comfort, all with respect for dignity and intimacy.


Soft Skills in the job of caregiver

Article by Eurolider

Being the caregiver of seniors requires a specific set of skills. Some of them can slightly differ depending on what type of caregiving job one is doing – whether it is a job in the hospital, senior house, rehabilitation centre or any other one that involves working with seniors. Similarly, working with one specific senior for a longer time will be different than working with many of them every day. Finally, activities you do in your work are not always the same as the ones other caregivers do. However, there are still some universal skills that you can improve and tips that you can listen to in order to become a better caregiver and to make your job easier and more enjoyable. These are usually described as the soft skills being a mix of personality traits involving most often communication, acting in a group and management.

Our Here4U project’s soft skills pack consists of skills like:

  • Communication – the process of exchange of information, making emotions or ideas known to someone
  • Problem solving  – the capability of a person to face one or several issues and find the best possible solution to fit all its needs
  • Keen observation – activity involving attention to detail, focus, analysis, reasoning and memory
  • Empathy – the ability to empathize with someone else’s emotional states, putting yourself in someone’s place and understanding their way of thinking, being able to accept the way others think and look at the reality from their perspective
  • Patience – the state of endurance under difficult circumstances
  • Stress management – undertaking correct actions adequate to current situation in order to cope with difficult, unpleasant, undesirable events occurring in life that cause unpleasant emotions such as anxiety, feeling of lack of control over the situation.
  • Creativity – a skill connected with how we develop, understand and communicate specific ideas.
  • Being able to empower and motivate – spreading motivation, a process that occurs in human consciousness (sometimes also in the subconscious mind), as a result of which there is a desire to do something
  • Assertiveness – a social and communicative skill that consists in expressing your own thoughts and ideas in an effective way, sharing your point of view with other people without underestimating theirs
  • Thick skin – ability to adapt to stressful circumstances and adverse events and deal with unfounded criticism

You can find out more about them in our diagnostic tool and soon in our MOOCS. However, this does not mean that these are the only soft skills worth knowing and improving in. Some more of them are also interconnected within the ones above.

For example, another important skills and potentially connected with caregiving are connected with working with people. These are leadership and teamwork skills. It is likely that as a caregiver you might need to cooperate with others doing the same work. These skills are beneficial because together you can better accomplish your goals and deliver good job. Moreover, there is a high chance of needing to work with flexibility and adaptability in order to react to sudden changes in the field. These also goes hand in hand with time management and organization useful in any job. An organized caregiver who manages time well will be able to achieve more in a shorter time and additionally they will be seen as more professional. Lastly, initiative is also a useful soft skill, connected with creativity. Caregivers need to be proactive in their work and should engage in many fun and interesting activities – the Here4U project will provide you with the “Box of Ideas” where you will find many of those.


Depression in seniors

Article by Fundacia

Depression in the elderly is common, but this does not mean it is normal. Only a small percentage of seniors use the help of a doctor. Older people often present symptoms of depression differently. Depression in the elderly is therefore often confused with the effects of other diseases and the drugs used to treat them.

Depression affects older people differently than younger people.

In the elderly, depression often accompanies other medical conditions and disabilities and lasts longer. Depression in the elderly is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and death from the disease. At the same time, depression reduces the elderly person’s ability to rehabilitate. Older people may not have obvious symptoms of depression. Instead, they can: feel tired, have trouble sleeping, be grumpy or irritable, feel confused, struggle to pay attention, not enjoy activities they used to, move more slowly, have a change in weight or appetite, feel hopeless, worthless, or guilty, experience aches and pains, have suicidal thoughts.

Using a series of standard questions, your primary care physician can check for depression, enabling better diagnosis and treatment.

Advanced age is often associated with the loss of social support systems due to the death of a spouse or sibling, retirement or relocation. Depression also increases the risk of suicide, especially for older men.

Factors that increase the risk of depression in the elderly include: being a woman, being single, unmarried, divorced or widowed, lack of social support, and stressful life events

Illnesses such as stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, dementia and chronic pain, for example, further increase the risk of depression. In addition, the risk of depression is greater for older people who: have an injury (as a result of amputation, cancer surgery or a heart attack), are dependent on the help of others, need to stay in a hospital or need home health care, are unable to constructively cope with the fear of death, live alone, were to previous suicide attempts, experience chronic or severe pain, have already had depression, have recently lost a loved one, are abusing psychoactive substances.

What are the treatments for depression in the elderly?

Treatment of depression includes medicine, psychotherapy or counseling, electroconvulsive therapy, or other newer forms of brain stimulation (such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation or rTMS). Sometimes a combination of these treatments can be used. The option your doctor may recommend depends, among other things, on the type and severity of your depression symptoms, your past therapies, and your overall health.

Most people with depression find support from family and friends, involvement in self-help and support groups, and psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is especially beneficial for those who have gone through severe life stresses (such as loss of friends and family, home relocation, and health problems) or who prefer not to take medications and have only mild to moderate symptoms. Many doctors recommend psychotherapy along with antidepressants.

What Problems Affect Treatment of Depression in Older Adults?

The fear of stigma associated with mental illness and psychiatric treatment is even stronger among the elderly. This can keep the elderly away from admitting that they are depressed. Older people and their families also can sometimes misidentify depression symptoms as “normal” responses to life stresses, loss or the aging process.

Moreover, depression can be expressed through physical ailments rather than traditional symptoms. This delays appropriate treatment. In addition, elderly people with depression may not report their depression because they mistakenly believe that there is no hope of help.

Older adults may also be reluctant to take their medications due to side effects or costs. In addition, the presence of other diseases at the same time as depression can interfere with the effectiveness of antidepressants.

The article was prepared based on:


The process of creating the learning platform


As the leading IT partner of the project we wanted to create an easy to use platform to help caregivers improve their knowledge on the various soft skills topics without too much effort. The learning platform would be centered around the ten soft skills that we set out in this project, namely empathy, assertiveness, the ability to empower and motivate other people, general problem solving, stress management, creativity, patience, communication skills, observation skills, and thickness of skin. All other partners of the project started out by creating learning modules for each of the soft skills. Each of the units in the modules guide the user through a better understanding of the soft skill. All modules focus on contexts in which senior caregivers may face certains challenges.


We set out to create a fun but professional looking design for the platform. The platform would allow users to sign in with their Google accounts of email addresses, just like was implemented in our diagnostic tool. The idea still centered around the results of the diagnostic tool. When a caregiver would first sign in, they would be asked to go through the diagnostic tool questions to guage a first level of their understanding of the soft skills. The caregiver would then be guided to a dashboard where they can find all the learning modules freely available to them. These are sorted by relevance: for example, if a caregiver scored lower on a soft skill during the assessment questions, then the learning module for that particular soft skill would be placed more on top in the dashboard.


After creating a design we ourselves and all partners were satisfied with, we started developing the platform. Starting by extending the codebase of the assessment tool, we build the platform on top of it.

Caregivers are also able to gain soft skill badges on the platform. These badges are a sort of certification for the caregiver that they scored really well on an assessment of their soft skill knowledge. By navigating to the page with the badges, caregivers can read their diagnostic feedback again and even download the badges they have already gained. They can use these downloaded badges anywhere they want to boast about their knowledge of the soft skill!

So far the platform contains the interface text in all partner languages and the learning modules only in English for now. 

After the initial development phase, we gained feedback from all partners involved about bugs and mistakes in the module content which have been updated onto the current version of the learning platform.

Next steps

We are now in the process of translating all learning modules into each partner language. Then all the translated modules will become available in an update on the platform.

Hope you are all as excited as we are!
The Odisee team.



Article by Valencia InnoHub

Developed countries have been facing a demographic challenge for some years now; the increase in life expectancy and the decrease in the birth rate have generated an aging society.

This phenomenon has resulted in care needs for the elderly that have not had institutional backing in a lot of European countries. Up to that time, the market was the first to identify the growing need for elderly care and to develop services such as private nursing homes and home care.

Afterwards, with the implementation of different laws supporting caregiving, the private and public spheres worked together, giving rise to a wide network of protection for dependent persons. However, due to the familiarist tradition in some areas following the so called <<Mediterranean Welfare Model>>, the care of the elderly has been assumed by the family most of the times.

In addition, there has been a traditional gender bias since most caregivers, both family and external workers, were women. Other socioeconomic variables such as level of education also have played a role. This aspect was noticed by the different governments that incorporated special modalities in the Personal Income Tax or family caregivers, recognizing their work and insisting on the fact that many times being a caregiver is not chosen.

As we can appreciate, the issue of long-term care has had a long history and has experienced a transformation in various areas. However, it was not until the Covid 19 crisis that the psychological and emotional burden of caregiving came onstitute the focus of the debates.

On the one hand, the virus has particularly affected our elderly, making them an even more vulnerable sector. And, on the other hand, the various forms of lockdown have resulted in the elderly staying at home much longer with family members who at the same time act as caregivers. This fact has highlighted the psychological stress to which caregivers are subjected and afflictions such depression, anxiety, excessive worry and difficulties to manage stress. These symptoms are aggravated by the uncertainty to which the pandemic subjects us, at the professional, family and health levels.

Professionals recommend seeking psychological help to better manage anxiety, as well as finding time for oneself and being able to disconnect, since living and working in the same place and with the same person can be difficult. Soft skills are strongly recommended to deal with the anxiety caused by the pandemic situation.

From another point of view, we note how Covid 19 has increased the demand for nursing home and home care workers. This demand has had the same effects on these workers outside the family. They must cover a larger number of people and are under more pressure because they must follow a protocol. For example, in home care, other tasks are now added such as maintaining distance, ventilation, disinfection, etc.

Finally, there is the situation of relatives who have their elderly in residential care. The distance and the prohibition of visits, together with the fear that the elderly may become ill, have generated episodes of anxiety, sadness and worry. For this reason, the Governments have recommended that caregivers facilitate electronic contact between users and their relatives.

In conclusion, the history of caregiving has evolved and finally considered the mental health of caregivers as an important issue to take into account. But Covid 19 has accentuated the strong and urgent necessity to implement soft skills in the daily tools of the caregivers for them to be able to deal better with the emotions that usually arise in their daily activities. Thus, we must pay special attention to both family and professional caregivers and ensure that the mental and physical consequences of the pandemic are correctly treated with the adequate tools, applying always the prevention through proved tools and mechanisms based on soft skills.


BBC News Mundo (January 2021). ‘Alguien el otro día vio morir a ocho o nueve personas en un turno’: la devastadora crisis de salud mental en el personal sanitario por la pandemia de coronavirus. BBC News. Online resource:

Brión Insua, Rodrigo (January 2021). Cada euro bien invertido en Salud Mental nos puede ahorrar cuatro” indica el psicólogo Carlos Losada. Galiapress. Online resourse:

Fuente Robles, Yolanda María de la; González-López, Lucía; Guzmán-Tirado, Mercedes (2011). El desarrollo del sistema de atención a la dependencia y las personas cuidadoras en España: necesidades de atención y nuevas vías de apoyo. Universidad de Huelva. Online resource:

Guindo, Daniel and González Ramón (February 2021). Las otrac onsecuencias del coronavirus. Las Provincias. Online resource:

Limón, Raúl (January 2021). Las otras secuelas de la covid. El País. Online resource:

Tarricone, Rosana and Agis D. Tsouros (2008) Home Care in Europe. The solid Facts. Universià Commerciale Luigi Boccone.  World Health Organization. Online resource:


Caregiver’s Stress Syndrome – causes, symptoms, prevention

Written by EURO LIDER organization

Caring for the elderly is a demanding job that is not only physically but also mentally demanding. What is the Caregiver’s Stress Syndrome? What body signals should make you more alert, how to deal with it and where to seek help?

Caring for the elderly is a job that is not the lightest. It often leads to burnout syndrome. As a result of exposure to chronic stress related to the responsibility for the health and life of the patient, the caregivers often develop depression and neurosis, experience anxiety, have problems with sleep, headaches, spine and heartaches, as well as gastric ailments such as stomach ulcers or indigestion. The most common syndrome of burnout, i.e. psychophysical exhaustion, affects caregivers who look after an elderly person alone. The situation in which the caregiver literally loses his strength may occur after 3-6 months of constant, intensive care for an elderly person.

It is worth knowing what to pay attention to and how to protect yourself from the consequences of overburdening yourself with obligations in the care of a caregiver, regardless of whether you provide professional care or look after a sick or elderly person in the family.

Caregiver Stress Syndrome – causes and symptoms

Caregivers for the elderly who devote themselves completely to their duties, giving up their lives and the right to rest, are at risk of developing the Caregiver Stress Syndrome (CSS). It is nothing more than a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion that occurs in people who are constantly caring for an elderly or chronically ill person. Round-the-clock care, assisting with almost all the daily activities of the senior, giving up one’s own social and professional life, and finally limiting the daily space only to the house or room of the sick person and loneliness in caring – this is a short path to frustration and fatigue, which with time worsen and turn into a series of ailments. What symptoms should make you alert?

Caregiver Stress Syndrome – emotional and mental symptoms:

• fear of being responsible for another person

• stress resulting from lack of knowledge about caring for an elderly / chronically ill person

• feeling powerless and lonely

• constant tension and nervousness

• apathy, deepening sadness

Caregiver’s Stress Syndrome – somatic symptoms: 

• physical exhaustion, chronic fatigue

• problems with sleep and concentration

• pain ailments (head, neck, spine, joints, heart)

• gastric discomfort

Exposure to chronic stress also weakens the immune system, and ignoring some disturbing symptoms can lead to the development of serious diseases, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

How can I deal with Caregiver Stress Syndrome (CSS)??

First of all, make sure you have a balance between your duties and rest. Your rest, during which you regenerate your own strength, is just as important as the rest of your mentee.

Here are some tips on how to take care of yourself to minimize Caregiver Stress Syndrome (CSS)

  1. Don’t forget about yourself

When caring for the other person, remember that you also have needs and limitations, as well as good and bad days. To work efficiently, remember to rest and recuperate.

  • Eat well and stay hydrated

A balanced diet and the right amount of water are essential. Losing yourself in duties, it is easy to forget about your own meal or reaching for a glass of water. Try not to make it a habit. Eat regular meals, preferably every 2-3 hours, and drink water as often as possible

  •  Movement is healthy!

Physical activity has a positive effect on mood and well-being. You may think that movement is the last thing you are missing if you are constantly doing something every day, assisting the senior in most of their daily activities, but the point is to choose the form that is right for you, preferably outdoors. Even short but regular walks will improve your mood and relieve tension in muscles and joints. You don’t want to or can’t leave the house? Turn on YouTube and enjoy free exercise tutorials on the mat.

  •  Talk about the difficulties

Difficult times, bad days, feeling unwell – it happens to everyone. So that the depressed mood does not turn into anything more serious, try to talk about your difficulties on a regular basis. It may be someone close to you, but you can also always ask for help from specialists such as a psychologist or therapist. Take care of this especially if you work as a carer abroad – this is where the longing for your family comes in. A few minutes of talking to your loved ones will cheer you up and help relieve stress.

  • Learn, read and improve yourself as a caregiver according to the principle of more knowledge, less stress

Often the cause of the caregiver’s dissatisfaction is stress resulting from the lack of knowledge about how to deal with the charges’ ailments. If you work as a caregiver and travel abroad with a responsible employer, you can count on Nursing Support, but sometimes access to knowledge can be more difficult. Therefore, online courses and tools can come in handy, e.g. Here4U Erasmus+ Project.

The ability to relieve stress in the profession and the role of an elderly caregiver is an extremely important feature. Taking care of your own well-being and taking a distance sometimes costs a lot of effort, but allows you to function better, protects against dangerous ailments and ensures a healthy relationship with the person you care for.


Personality changes in the elderly

An article by Fundacia EOS

People’s personality changes throughout their lives. Usually these are not major changes that occur over a very short period of time. People of all ages can experience mood swings, but deeper personality changes should be assessed by a doctor. Impulsiveness, paranoia, and social withdrawal are indicators of a larger potential problem.

As a caregiver for seniors, you should be able to identify which changes in behavior are normal and which are not so that you can get early help for those you care for.

Sudden changes in the behavior of an elderly person should be taken seriously.

Below are personality changes that are a normal part of the aging process, along with information on when to make an appointment with your doctor.


An elderly person experiences many traumatic events. Loss of independence and the need for constant care, death of friends, often moving from a family home to a retirement home. As a result, she or he can react with deep sadness.

In our culture, it is difficult for people to express sadness. Anger is a more socially acceptable emotion. Therefore, an elderly person may express anger and aggression towards caregivers or loved ones, instead of expressing sadness by crying.

Be patient, be empathetic, and consider taking the elderly person to the doctor to rule out other possible health problems. A sadness that lasts for weeks or months can indicate depression. An elderly person may need therapy or medication to get back to normal life.

Memory Lapses

It is normal for the elderly to forget little things, such as the place where they put the keys or  names. This is due to the aging processes of the brain. It is important to be vigilant, however, as studies show that up to 10% of people over the age of 65 and 50% of people over the age of 85 will have dementia. Symptoms of dementia include memory loss, poor judgment, difficulties with language and concentration, and in some cases impaired visual perception. Memory loss in the elderly should be rare and brief. More significant memory loss (e.g., forgetting someone they have known for years) should alert the caregiver to the need to see a doctor.


The risk of developing cognitive problems such as confusion, memory loss, decreased concentration of attention and difficulty in carrying out daily activities increases with age. The behavioral changes that occur as a result of a stroke depend on the area of ​​the brain that has been affected. In an elderly person after a stroke, personality changes can often be noticed. If you suspect a stroke, it is important to take the senior to the doctor for examination as soon as possible.


‍Many caregivers who work with older people over the age of 50 help people with dementia or other cognitive impairments. Behavioral symptoms that may signal the development of dementia include apathy, mood, antisocial behavior, and language difficulties. If, as a caregiver, you notice that an elderly person has developed any of the above symptoms of dementia, it is important that you see the doctor as soon as possible.

Drug interactions

Polypharmacy or the use of more than one pharmacological drug to treat a wide variety of chronic diseases can lead to personality changes in older populations. If an elderly person is taking a wide range of medications on a daily basis, neurotoxicity can cause behavioral changes that imitate the signs and symptoms of dementia. If an elderly person has recently started taking new medications, drug interactions are important and should be reported to the doctor during the examination of the elderly person. 

Poor Sleep

As people get older, it may be difficult to sleep. In extreme cases, lack of sleep can lead to memory distortion, disorientation, depression and a reduction in the mental capacity of the individual. Sleep deprivation can cause dementia-like symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe sleeping pills to treat sleep disorders.

Risky Behavior

Risky behaviors that involve an imbalance between potential costs and rewards should be cause for concern. For example, seniors who suddenly gamble or drink alcohol excessively may actually show signs of dementia or depression.


Chronic pain, stress, and loneliness can lead to bad behaviours. Seniors who are inexplicably cruel or aggressive, may suffer from deeper problems such as physical pain, depression or dementia that need to be assessed by a doctor.

What are some examples of behavior changes?

Impulsive Behavior

Areas of the brain that normally control and manage behavior can become damaged as a result of aging processes, so that an elderly person cannot control his or her behavior. Impulsive, non-conforming behavior can include making rude, inappropriate comments or gestures, touching himself or herself or others inappropriately, and even behaviors such as cutting into the line or picking up someone else’s food. In old age, deterioration in brain function can lead to unusual behavior that needs to be assessed and treated by a doctor.


‍This is one of the most common behavioral changes associated with dementia. Apathy can be defined as a lack of enthusiasm, interest or indifference and passivity. Familiarizing yourself and understanding apathy can allow the caregiver to learn to adjust his or her expectations so as to have a beneficial relationship with the elder.

Aggressive/Threatening Behavior

‍When an elderly person with dementia shows aggressive or threatening behavior, it can be dangerous for the caregiver. In most cases, when a senior starts to behave aggressively, a trigger appears that initiates the behavior. It may be, for example, the psychosocial environment of the elderly. If something in the environment has caused them strong emotions, aggressive behavior may be a normal reaction.

Contact your doctor if you feel that an elderly person is a threat. Learn about techniques and methods to deal with aggressive behavior in dementia patients and don’t be afraid to ask for help.


‍Anxiety is a common behavioral change in the elderly, especially in those individuals who have dementia. Individuals who have memory loss or suffer from some kind of illness may struggle to manage their emotions and self-control, and will look outward to their caretakers for help with managing feelings. Impaired memory in particular can lead to anxiety because it can be frightening to elderly individuals to lose memory or be confused for no apparent reason. When this happens, anxiety can set in and cause a variety of other personality and behavior changes.

In some cases, because many elderly people with dementia or impaired brain function require the help of their caregivers to manage their emotions, the individual may walk around looking for their caregiver and get lost due to an inability to remember where they are. One of the key things to do to help the individual with anxiety is to provide them with a clean, clutter-free space and to be available to them to help them remember things when needed.

Compulsive Behavior

Some elderly individuals may start to express compulsive behaviors, such as checking locks multiple times, obsessive organization or cleaning practices, frequent visits to the bathroom, unusual collections or dramatic changes in eating habits. Often, compulsive behaviors are not done on purpose and are driven by anxiety or memory loss. The best way to help is to be supportive and determine if there is perhaps a need that is not being met for the individual.

Remember that if the compulsive behavior is not interfering with their daily life or yours, it may sometimes be best to avoid talking about this behavior. Sometimes, bringing awareness to a compulsive behavior can cause more anxiety and can be counterproductive. However, offering the elderly person a different activity or identifying the potential cause of their anxiety may eliminate the compulsive behavior entirely.

How you can deal with personality changes in an elderly patient:

● If the elderly person shows signs of apathy, encourage him or her to do things with you that he or she previously liked. Offer a controlled, organized environment in which you can perform these activities, and choose something that is justified in his or her specific situation and interests.

● Elderly people with anxiety or anxiety-related compulsive behaviors benefit from having an appropriate environment. Make sure their space (as well as surroundings, if possible) is well organized and calm.

● A sudden drop in empathy can be hard to deal with, but it can often be controlled by expressing your feelings about the older person’s actions. Thank them and express gratitude as they act and speak appropriately, and explain your feelings when they behave or speak inappropriately.

● If your elderly patient exhibits aggressive or threatening behavior, the first most important thing to do is to make sure that both you and the patient are physically safe. If you or your patient are in any danger, get help immediately.

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Taking care of the elderly during COVID 19 Pandemic

The greatest of all learnings during this pandemic has been the lost respect for human lives. Amidst this chaos, there is the peace that some of us are there with our families to fight it together.

The age-old mantra- “prevention is better than cure” is the solution in hand and is especially important for those who taught us the same, the senior citizens of our society.

The elderly is at a greater risk against COVID 19, and those with pre-existing problems are all the more vulnerable. This pandemic poses a greater challenge in taking care of them, and with the on-going lockdown, it becomes more difficult to reach out to those who live far away. Wherever we are, we can help them and reassure them that they are not alone.

Take care of elders in COVID19
Image soure – Freepik

Here are certain ways to support them and make sure the elderly around you are safe

Social engagement can happen with social distance

Older people would be missing out on their walks, chats sessions, and evening tea talks during this time. This could be a big problem for them, as it is their daily routine. Teach them to engage socially via technology. Set up group chat sessions online, live exercises, and even spiritual classes for them. It’s time for them to know about the new normal of society.

Build Physical Immunity with Mental Health

The pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of a lot of people, and for those who live alone it is a cause of worry. Talk to them and connect with them to see if they are okay, their mental wellness is what will keep them going during this time.

Also, aged people might find it difficult to approach their doctors for regular check-ups. Get them in touch with physicians’ online or make them speak to doctors so that they can be sure of their health conditions.

Offer a Helping Hand

It is not safe for anyone to step outside, and for the old, it is a challenging task. Offer them to get groceries, medicines, and essential items. Teach the art of online shopping and payment so that they don’t have to feel dependent on anyone. It’s a way to ensure that they stay indoors and stay safe.

Take care of elders in COVID19
Image soure – Freepik

Practice and preach the safety measures

Make sure that you are well sanitized and follow all the necessary steps before you approach an elderly person to help. Try and talk to them about Corona, ensure that they have access to all the right information about COVID 19 and the precautions that need to be taken. Speak to them about the importance of lockdown and social distancing.

Stay in Touch

The biggest fear during this lockdown is to be left alone. Take timely updates from them, and talk to them about how are they doing during this quarantine. If they are away from family and friends, keep their families posted about. The people who need a caretaker can use some extra help during this time, only if we plan to take out some time for them.

These could be some ways to remain connected with the elderly, to make them feel that they are a valuable part of our lives and our societies.

Senior citizens are a reflection of how we see ourselves in the future. We might find it difficult to manage this while juggling with work and household responsibilities, but a casual interaction or a phone call will reassure them that they have the support and a helping hand at bay. It is time to be a responsible citizen, neighbor and a friend to all.