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How to Manage OCD Behaviour in Older Adults

Caring for a senior who has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can be challenging. These individuals are prone to high levels of anxiety, and they might also have a compulsion to carry out harmful actions. If your loved one has been diagnosed with OCD, you need to learn some tactics to curb destructive behaviours and enhance his or her quality of life.

Categorise Quirks

Before making any sudden changes to your loved one’s life, decide if his or her actions are dangerous or harmless. In many cases, it’s better to ignore harmless quirks instead of trying to subdue them entirely. Certain repetitive routines might even be beneficial to your loved one, and you only need to step in when the behaviours are negatively impacting his or her physical or psychological health.

Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted North Coast home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. 

Try Exposure Therapy

This type of therapy should only be carried out with the approval of a therapist or psychologist. The primary goal of exposure therapy is to make an individual less responsive to triggers. An example of this would be asking seniors to only wash their hands once an hour if they feel the need to wash up every few minutes. Over time, they might become more comfortable with their hands feeling dirty, which may eventually reduce their anxiety.

Use Distractions

Stimulating distractions can be used by carers who are looking after seniors with OCD, dementia, or both of these disorders. As you spend more time with your loved one, try to keep track of activities or items that calm him or her down and keep him or her occupied. This might include listening to your loved one’s favourite album, handling an old family heirloom, or talking about enjoyable experiences from the past. These distractions could bring down your loved one’s heart rate and get his or her mind off the compulsive actions he or she was about to carry out.

Keep Track of Triggers

Depending on what type of OCD your loved one has, there might be certain events that trigger the condition. In your caregiving journal, write down exactly what takes place before each panic attack. Seniors might become anxious when they hear certain noises or are asked to carry out specific chores. Identifying these triggers can help you prevent panic attacks and other unpleasant encounters.

Families who find it difficult to care for their ageing loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. North Coast, NSW, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite care workers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. 

Don’t Help with Ritualistic Behaviours

Many care workers tend to engage in the compulsive activities of their loved ones. While it might seem easier to simply help them wash their hands every few minutes or organise items on the table before eating, these actions could be harmful in the long run. Participating in the compulsions will reinforce your loved one’s beliefs and normalise his or her behaviour. Your loved one most likely needs anxiety medication and ongoing therapy to manage OCD.

According to the latest medical research, OCD and excessive anxiety could indicate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. If your ageing loved one displays challenging behaviour or signs of cognitive decline, consider hiring a professional Alzheimer’s care expert. For reliable Alzheimer’s care, North Coast families can turn to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of professional memory care designed to help seniors maintain a higher quality of life. In addition to Alzheimer’s care, we also provide comprehensive dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care. From revolutionary care programs to compassionate and dedicated care workers, we can meet all of your Alzheimer’s home care needs. To learn about our revolutionary elderly care plans, give us a call at 1300 LIVE-IN or (02) 6646 3527 today.