Caring is giving goes the saying. But Caring for a Parent with a Mental Illness is more about giving your 101 per cent. It brings a lot of responsibility and moral obligation on your shoulder. And, herein is the real litmus test of your grit!
Caring for a Parent with a Mental Illness- Challenges!
- Mental disorders
Imagine a situation: Mom in her mid 50s and father in his late 60s and are diagnosed with mental disorders such as (NPD) Narcissistic Personality Disorder or BPD (Borderline personality disorder). BPD causes unstable moods, behaviour, and relationships. It occurs either during adolescence or early adulthood. Both disorders need total care. It’s a long and arduous path to recovery that takes its toll on both parents and those around him or her.
- Controlling emotions is difficult
People with BPD face problems in controlling their emotions and thoughts. NPD is also a personality disorder. It causes in an individual a distorted self image, unstable and intense emotions. The patient is obsessed with vanity, prestige, power and personal adequacy, lacks empathy. He or she has an exaggerated sense of superiority.
- Challenges of caring
The commitment to take care of mentally ill parents poses many challenges to their close family members. Caring in such a circumstance can be really nerve wrecking. The patient can be at times crafty and age and experience only adds to the complexity of the problem. In the neighbourhood, he or she is no longer the former sober and wise elderly figure. Any untoward behaviour is met with a phone to the police or of paramedics. At home they are loath to live alone and crave for company, which is difficult to come by.
- More problems
The problem exacerbates with the parents refusing to see a doctor at the adjacent nursing home. The patients want some kind of a daily care by someone who can take care of their medicines and psychological needs – it can be by an expert or their sons or daughters. But the help seldom comes. Their children had to chip in, not always willingly. Willy-nilly they become the prime care giver. For the caring kids it’s a constant vigil that takes a heavy toll on them, both physically and psychologically.
- Self care a must
- All said and done, it is in the best interest of the children that they take care of themselves well to be able to look after their aging and ailing parents.
- But sometimes, many children are found to be unable to withstand the pressure and agony of having to continuously take care of their parents and abuse them.
- But experts say the line dividing care and abuse is very fragile.
- For the children it is important to understand that their parent’s unusual behaviour is not a deliberate act of revolt and it is due to their mental disorder that can be cured with proper medication and psychiatric intervention.
- Caring: stressful task
- It is a fact that caring is a stressful and challenging exercise.
- The stress is bound to be more if your parents are diagnosed as suffering from BPD.
- A common problem with most BPD patients is that they would strongly oppose any kind of medication.
- Experts say that it is always better to realise one’s limitation and try and act accordingly as per the standard norms of medication.
Steps to proper care
- The first important step would be to keep in touch with your parents’ doctors.
- A second painful but a better option would be to admit parents in a rehabilitation centre if they are found to have gone out of control and totally unsafe for the society.
- It is always better to be in touch with home care officials and aware of services for mentally ill patients.
- It is important to make sure that your parents are under regular medi-care and taking the medicines regularly.
- Look out for mental health care units and adult protection services around the locality capable of handling emergency situations
If you need more information about elderly mental health care homes, do send it to us at email@example.com or visit Cadabam’s Hospitals. Alternatively, you can also reach us on our 24/7 helpline number- +91 97414 76476.