Why Is My Elderly Mother So Angry?
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Last updated June 6, 2017

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Doctors and Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and
other members of our Editorial Board.]









Does your elderly mother or father constantly complain and get
angry at the slightest thing? Do you have to deal with
aggression and hostility when you are caring for your mother?
Anger in the elderly is a common situation.

Elderly people can become angry for many different reasons,
and a lot of them are understandable.

From thinking about the death of loved ones to dwelling on
their own mortality, to increased loneliness and lack of ability to
carry out active tasks they once enjoyed, seniors can become
hostile and angry. Illnesses that affect elderly people can also
impact on anger levels, such as dementia and
Alzheimer’s.

While it may be understandable, anger is not particularly easy
to deal with. But there are ways you can help your elderly
mother with her anger, and perhaps even stop it in the first
place.

Are Elderly People Naturally Angry?

So it would seem that there are many reasons for anger in a
senior person. But does that mean that seniors will
automatically get angrier as they get older? It seems not.

A 2006 study from Brandeis University says the opposite – that
seniors’ attention switches to more positive feelings and
associations as they get older. Authors of the study say that
“By focusing more on positive things and avoiding negative
ones, older adults are able to maintain emotional resilience,
which becomes acutely important in the face of dwindling
time.”

The researchers used eye-tracking technology to study people’
s gaze patterns as they looked on faces showing anger,
sadness, happiness and fear. The older people (aged from 57
to 84) preferred looking at the happy faces and avoided the
angry ones.

And 2008 study from The University of Texas at Austin found
that generally aging brought a sense of peace and calm, not
anger.

People reported more feelings of contentment from the age of
60 onwards than younger people, and also more passive rather
than active emotions. “Emotions that are both active and
negative, such as anxiety and anger, are especially unlikely
among the elderly,” researchers said. They looked at 1,450
responses to a general survey by the National Opinion Research
Center.

So, actually, if your elderly mother is very angry it could
actually be quite unusual.

What To Do When Your Elderly Mother Is So Angry

Even if it is unusual, many seniors do suffer from anger. As
your mother ages, longstanding personality traits may be
magnified and if she was irritable before she may now become
enraged. She may yell, call you names, or complain aggressively
about aspects of life.

If your elderly mother is very angry, try to work out the cause
of the anger. In many cases seniors become angry at the
injustices of life as they age, and vent their frustration about
their chronic pain, losing their friends, not being able to
remember things, and just simply getting old. In these cases
your mother has some degree of control over her emotions and
you can work with her to manage her anger and frustration.

Or, diseases like
dementia and Alzheimer’s can cause anger. In
this case, your mother has little control over her actions and
treating the disease is more appropriate than treating the
anger.

As a caregiver, try to focus on the positive and not take her
anger personally. Take a break when you can from caring for
your mother, and enlist the help of other family members or
professionals.
We looked at recent scientific studies to find out why elderly
people experience anger, and what you can do about it.





























1.
Older Seniors are More Likely to be Angry

Research shows that older seniors are more likely to experience
anger than younger, so it could be your mother’s age that is
causing the problem.

A 2006 study from the University of Virginia found that
symptoms of neuroticism, anxiety, anger and depression
increase during early adulthood, decrease until the mid-70s and
then rise again with age.

2.
Treat Chronic Pain Conditions like Arthritis to Manage
Symptoms of Anger in Aging Adults


Health conditions like arthritis that cause chronic pain in older
age are likely to cause a person to feel angry.

A 2012 study from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention discovered that one third of adults with arthritis,
who were 45 or older, reported feeling anxiety, depression, or
anger.

The study looked at a representative sample of the US
population that had responded to the CDC's Arthritis
Conditions and Health Effects Survey.

3.
Minimize Anger and Hostility to Preserve Lung Function in
the Elderly


Anger that persists into old age can be damaging to physical as
well as mental health, and can even affect lung function,
according to a 2006 study from the University of Medicine and
Dentistry in New Jersey.

Longstanding anger speeds up the natural decline in lung
power that happens when you age, researchers say.

These findings are based on a study of 670 men aged between
45 and 86. The men’s lung function was monitored for eight
years.

After this time, lung function was significantly poorer in men
who exhibited high levels of anger and hostility. Being angry
alters hormonal processes in the body as well as neurological
systems. This can disrupt the immune system and result in
inflammation, according to the researchers. However, it is
equally true that a deterioration in physical health can lead to
anger so it is not certain that anger definitely causes lung
function decline.

4.
Antipsychotics Can Help Anger in Alzheimer’s Patients

Alzheimer’s disease is linked to a number of psychiatric and
behavioral symptoms like agitation, depression, aggression,
and anger.

A 2008 study from the National Institute of Mental Health
shows that second-generation antipsychotic medications can
improve these symptoms, leading to a lessening of anger in
seniors with Alzheimer’s. The study followed 421 patients with
Alzheimer’s disease and symptoms of anger.

5.
Anger And Depression in Elderly People: How Are They
Linked?


It seems that elderly people who are depressed are less likely
to be angry, according to a 2011 study from Chungnam
National University, Daejeon, Korea. The study looked at 216
elderly patients with depression and without.

Those with depressive disorder demonstrated lower levels of
anger and hostility. However, people with the highest severity
of depressive symptoms actually reported the highest levels of
anger.

A 2009 study from the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal &
Economic Studies and the University of Montevallo in Alabama
shows that spending time online reduces depression by 20
percent for seniors.

Increased internet access allows seniors to connect when face
to face interaction can be difficult, cutting down feelings of
loneliness. The study examined the responses of 7,000 retired
Americans to a survey.

6.
She May Not Be Angry, It May Be the Wrinkles

Are you sure your senior relative is actually angry? A new
study shows that wrinkles make a face appear more sad or
angry.

The 2013 study from Penn State University suggests that
wrinkles on the face can create features that many perceive as
anger or sadness. Researchers considered that older adults
could be treated differently because of this. For example,
doctors could think a patient was more in pain that they really
were. People were asked to rate faces based on the level of
emotion they showed, and the faces of older adults were rated
as more angry and sad than younger adults, despite the fact
that all the photos displayed neutral expressions.

7.
Tailored Light Treatment Can Treat Hostility and Agitation in
Dementia Sufferers


A special light treatment designed to increase body clock
stimulation throughout the day could improve symptoms of
agitation and anger, as well as depression, in seniors with
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, according to a 2014 study
from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

The study shows that exposure to the light treatment during
the day for four weeks significantly decreases agitation and
depression symptoms. The initial study looked at 14 people in
nursing homes with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

The treatment used a light source of a bluish white light with a
color temperature of more than 9000 K. The nursing staff
reported patients were calmer and their behavior was overall
more manageable, researchers said.













































































Related:
Alzheimer's Disease -An Ideal Prevention Diet

Dancing Reduces Dementia Risk By 76%

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Improve Your Memory- Simple Steps

Foods That Shrink Your Waist /

Foods That Fight Depression

How to Raise Your IQ Naturally
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