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  • Writer's pictureRobin Masters

Behavioral Change

There are times when we might notice a change in a loved one's thinking, reaction or how they emotionally respond. It might be subtle, or strangely dramatic, but it is a certain, notable behavior change. Sometimes brought on by new medications, changes that are out of character deserve a closer look.

Behavior changes can appear as cognitive, like memory loss or difficulty finding words to communicate, even difficulty planning or organizing. We can even appear to be confused or even disorientated. Sometimes we might see changes in personality through inappropriate behavior. These psychological changes can have distinct warning flags like paranoia or agitation, even unreasonable fear.

It is important to recognize and allow a safe space and time for assessing what could be the cause and consider the appropriate intervention. Struggles in mental well-being can be as easily overcome as facing a bump in the road of life. They can also be as challenging as realizing the warning signs of early cognitive decline with diseases like dementia. A clear diagnosis requires a medical team assessment.

Passive-Aggressive behavior is usually a surface display of a deeper emotional current. Making 'jokes' or snarky comments when you're disappointed. Dropping hints and acting upset when someone doesn't guess what you need. Some people even shut down, reacting but not communicating. These actions can be subtle, or even covert jabs. They can also be overly nice to make a point, but disingenuous. All these efforts are a deep desire to have our needs and wants met; to have our boundaries attended to.

Struggles like this in our behavior to have our needs met can spiral into destructive thoughts and actions. We all have or will struggle at some point in our lives; 25% of men live with a mental illness. Men can breakdown, cry and experience intense grief and loss. They are just better at hiding it. It's not 'unmanly' to struggle; 40% of men won't talk to anyone about their struggle. What is even more disconcerting, 75% of all suicides are male.

If you notice changes like these in someone dear, take action. Get help. Your family doctor is a good place to start. Many resources are available to connect and counsel Canadian seniors and they are free. We are here to be of service to one another, to watch out for our fellow brothers and sisters. If something needs putting right, call upon the right person for the job. You don't need to feel someone is asking you to be a hero. Just have enough courage to act. Afterall, even Superman was a friend.

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