Has your elderly loved one become obsessed with doing certain rituals each day, like taking the garbage out or turning the lights on and off a certain amount of times? If your answer was yes, they could have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). This is a disorder that causes a person to have thoughts and urges as a result of their anxiety.
This is a common condition for elderly adults with certain conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease. OCD is a difficult condition for anyone to give up, but with the help of the senior’s medical team and a homecare provider, they will have a better chance of fighting this disorder.
Typical OCD Behavior
Each person with OCD will have different behaviors they display, but all will have behaviors that disrupt their daily life. If you are concerned that your loved one has this disorder, here are some common ones to watch for:
Checking to see if the stove is off several times before leaving the house
Needing to touch things, especially in a certain order
Frequently thinking about harming or becoming violent towards family members
Hoarding unnecessary items
Spending at least one hour a day performing these rituals
Constantly having the same thoughts or images, like being afraid of dirty and germs
The most common treatment options are therapy and medication because they are usually the only things needed to get rid of the OCD symptoms. Elderly adults, especially those with family caregivers, may also need to go to family therapy with their family members in order to resolve any issues that could be causing the OCD rituals.
How you can Help
While this type of behavior often requires professional help, there are ways you can also help, including:
Talk to them with an open mind. Your loved one is aware of their disorder, but may try to hide it from you out of embarrassment. Help them feel safe about talking to you about it by letting them know that you are aware of the problem and want to help. Being overly critical will make the behavior worse, so try to speak to them as calmly as you can. Allow them to share any problems they are dealing with while listening intently.
Have someone help. OCD often makes it difficult for that person to accomplish daily activities. You can help by hiring a homecare provider who can help with these tasks, while also watching for any unusual behavior.
Focus on health. Encourage your loved one to focus on their physical health in order to get their mind off of their OCD behavior. Take them on a walk, make sure they get enough sleep, and help them prepare healthy meals.
Belina Calderon-Nernberg is the CEO and founder of 1Heart Caregiver Services. Recently offering 1Heart franchise business opportunities to the public, Belina provided the vision, leadership, and direction that the company needed to achieve its goal of making a positive difference in the homecare industry. As her greatest accomplishment, the company is now equipped with the expertise to expand its business operations to different States in the U.S. Belina brings with her a corporate experience of 25 years, with 15 solid years of experience as CEO of an employment agency and a senior care service company in Southern California. Belina has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of St. La Salle, Philippines. She has been the recipient of several awards given to emerging leaders in business, community service, arts, and entertainment. She has also been honored as an Ambassador of Goodwill by the HiFi (Historic Filipinotown) Neighborhood Council. This title is bestowed to carefully selected Filipino-Americans who are persons of integrity who have the ability “to promote, reach out, influence and mobilize public interest and support of the ideals, values, principles, and programs of the Historic Filipinotown.