ADHD: A Parenting Guide

Six Negative Emotions Homebound Seniors Struggle With And How You Can Help

Being homebound can cause a lot of difficult emotions for seniors. Home health care companies are equipped to deal with these and have whole teams of people to help address all the issues, physical and mental, their patients encounter. Here are some of the most common emotions being homebound can cause and how you can help them.

1. Anxiety. Patients might worry about being a burden to others or feel anxious about their diagnosis. They might be concerned about the pain they will feel or feel anxiety over financial matters. Sometimes family members do not include the patient in medical decisions so the patient might feel anxious about their symptoms and what they mean. 

2. Depression. This one is extremely common with homebound seniors. It can lead to changes in appetite, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, decreased energy, difficulty thinking, and weight loss. It can be caused by long term fear and anxiety, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, and worry about the future. It is also a side effect of some medications.

3. Anger. It might be focused on one person or on a disease. It is usually a reflection of the grief, unfairness, and hopelessness of an underlying disease. 

4. Fear. Patients might be afraid of their illness taking all their money. They might fear losing their dignity. They might be afraid of the pain they will face. They might fear death and all that it might entail.

5. Embarrassment. Homebound individuals often need help with eating, going to the bathroom, showering, and other personal tasks. This may cause them to feel undignified and embarrassed.

6. Grief. This is particularly common in individuals who are facing death. They may grieve over the narrowing of their world, the loss of income, the loss of their mobility, or the loss of hope. 

How to Help

If you know someone that is homebound, there are several things you can do to help.

1. Listen. When you are with a patient, acknowledge their emotions. Don't judge or tell them they should feel differently. Truly listen to what they are saying and be completely present (don't think about other things while you are there) and make good eye contact. 

2. Help distract them. Sometimes the patient might want to forget about what they are going through. You can:

  • read a book to them
  • watch a funny movie or TV show together 
  • bring them flowers or a plant
  • make them their favorite treat
  • read their mail to them

3. Be a friend. People who are homebound get lonely. Sometimes all they need is someone to care about them. If you can't visit, make weekly phone calls or mail cards. (For information on home care services, contact ComForcare Home Care - Valparaiso)