Qthat of aging parents and gods children who find themselves unprepared to manage such a delicate moment, is still a taboo topic today. A topic that is talked about little and with difficulty even though it constitutes a real national emergencyconsidering the lengthening of average life.

Elderly people and diet: 10 tips for eating well and living long
Elderly people and diet: 10 tips for eating well and living long

Just to mention some data, in Italy, there are almost 14 million people over 65, or 22% of the Italian population, which will reach 33% in twenty-five years. That of thelengthening of average lifecombined with the low birth rate, is certainly not a recent phenomenon in our country where we live longer and longer, so much so life expectancy for women is now 85.2 years and gods men aged 80.8 years.

Elderly parents and children: the dedicated book

But one thing is talk about seniority in general and statistical dataanother one deal with the advancing age of your parents, often experienced with a sense of confusion on the part of the children. Who don’t know what to do or how to handle the new situation calmly. So how to orient yourself?

I am providing some answers Claudia Campisi, Psychologist and HR consultant in the company, e Antonella Brugnola, graduated in economics, has long been attentive and sensitive to the issue of the elderly and ageing. In fact, they are the authors of “Elderly parents, what to do? A guide for adult and (un)prepared children” (Dario Flaccovio Editore), a manual that explains how to deal with the old age of parents in advance, in a simple way, integrating two points of view: the vision of the psychologist Claudia Campisi, who explains the dynamics of feelings and behaviors of children and parentsand that practice of Antonella Brugnola that offers solutions and resources to be applied through a particular method.

Parental seniority is still a taboo

«That of parents becoming elderly is a topic that is rarely talked about because it is very painful – explains Claudia Campisi. – It is in fact a topic that concerns the individual’s relational history. Thinking about the elderly parent leads to question your whole life: from simple family welfare, considering that the elderly are often grandparents who help in everyday life to manage the load, up to to having to accept that if they get older we too are growing and our responsibilities change. We no longer receive help but we have to offer it. It is something that involves a profound upheaval and that also does reflect on painful topics, like the sense of death, mourning. Topics that we prefer to avoid to anesthetize the pain.”

The cover of the book “Elderly parents, what to do? A guide for adult and (un)prepared children” (Dario Flaccovio Editore)

Elderly parents and depression: the signs not to be overlooked

In the book the authors also provide indications on the signs not to be overlooked For notice any conditions psychological typical in the elderly.

Starting from depressiona frequent disorder even in this phase of life and in some ways subtle: the symptomatology in the elderly is in fact often more “nuanced” and can be confused with a decline in physiological mood with age.

Slowing down and apathy (understood as difficulty in being interested in anything), tendency towards isolation but also decreased appetite and weight lossthere are some sentinel behaviors to be observed over time and which may be discussed with a specialist.

Symptoms often confused

“As happens in subjects of different ages, to a lack of interest, initiative and motivation they can join each other physical symptoms (headache or dizziness, palpitations, tachycardia, chest tightness or painful symptoms affecting the respiratory, gastrointestinal or genitourinary systems) and cognitive (memory deficits, attention disorders, difficulty concentrating, disorientation, confusion and regressive attitudes) – explain the authors in the book. – Often these symptoms are confused with other organic or neurological pathologiesHere because it is essential to observe, write down everything and consult with specialists to allow them to make a complete diagnosis. THE Mood disorders, if left untreated, are disabling and worsen considerably improves the quality of life at any age.”

Dementia: the alarm bells

Among the disorders that can affect the elderly, it is impossible not to mention dementiasthat yes often manifest themselves in an unpredictable way and they can affect different functions such as memory (difficulty memorizing new or recent information or even recovering memories and information from further back in time). Attention and evaluation, with a deficit that can lead to small carelessness and domestic accidents such as senseless and inappropriate behavior in the context. Or even the language.

“To orient yourself in this field is It is essential to consult a neurology specialist – the authors underline. – Generally a patient with cognitive deficits is followed in a team by a neurologist with a specialized psychologist in order to also support caregivers in caring for the elderly“.

It’s not always easy to grasp the signs

However, it must be said that it is not always easy to grasp the signals, especially the psychological ones.

«We tend to consider our parents as invincible, infallible, self-sufficient and autonomous – underlines Claudia Campisi. – Not only: It is very often believed that an elderly person cannot be sad, worried or anxious for something, while every age brings its own challenges and it is important to be aware of them. Precisely for this reason, the advice is to never underestimate the psychological well-being of our elderly. Constantly asking them questions, more or less direct. A simple one may suffice ‘How are you?’if addressed with the intention of actually knowing the answer.”

Elderly parents: the method to best manage relationships

Beyond what may be the problems encountered, how to manage the relationship with elderly parents? The authors of the book suggest a method to which they chose to give an eloquent name: LOVE

«This method is born from the direct experience of the other author of the book, Antonella Brugnolo – explains the psychologist. – The name has a double interpretation because the word love is also understood as an acronym. There TOrefers to theAccept that our parents become elderly and therefore need care and attention. There M, at Maturation awareness of this. There Or, to oppose loneliness: a clear invitation to avoid alienation, not only that of the elderly but also ours. When you find yourself in a critical situation because you have to manage the difficulties of your parents’ life and on top of that you are overwhelmed by a thousand other tasks, the worst thing you can do is isolate yourself and try to resolve by relying only on one’s own resources.”

The importance of networking

«Then there’s there R for Playing a part. As our parents did to us when they were worried but pretended not to be, so are we we must be able to reassure them. To show them the situation in a filtered wayto protect them and avoid involving them too much, exposing them to further discomfort.

There And finally it is to explore what to do: from nutrition to care to cleaning the house, you have to enter the life of the elderly to concretely support them. Of course, situations can be very different and there is no single answer for everyone. But if we don’t isolate ourselves and try to learn from other people’s experiences too we can learn to live more peacefully what he can be an extremely difficult time» – concludes Claudia Campisi.