Your dad’s mood has changed over the past year or two. He used to be easygoing, but he’s becoming a little more argumentative and temperamental. You’re not sure if it’s just the pandemic causing him to feel a little stir crazy. Could his grumpy attitude be a sign that something is wrong?
Could He Be Depressed?
Depression occurs at any age, and the symptoms vary. An older adult who is dealing with depression may be grumpy or moody. Agitation and becoming easily irritated can be signs. If he’s sleeping later, dealing with insomnia, gaining or losing weight, or becomes confused and loses his focus, those are other signs.
If the irritability is continuing for weeks and you can’t think of any reasonable explanation, talk to his doctor. Depression can be treated.
Chronic Pain Can Make You Grumpy
Many older adults have arthritis. Chronic pain is a problem that occurs with arthritis. Untreated pain can make it hard to stay in a happy, upbeat mood. If he has arthritis and the pain is bothering him, the pain will impact his mood.
One of the ways to tell if it’s arthritis pain making him grumpy is by watching his mood a couple of hours after he takes an over-the-counter pain reliever. Are his movements more fluid and does he seem happier? If so, it could be pain causing his grumpy attitude.
Is He Overtired?
Insomnia is another concern. As you get older, sleeping through the night is more challenging. Your bladder isn’t as strong as it used to be. You wake in the middle of the night and need to go. Once you’ve walked to the toilet, you’re feeling awake and find it hard to get back to sleep.
Medications may have side effects that lead to insomnia. The interrupted sleep and lack of sleep can make you irritable.
Isolation and Loneliness May Be a Factor
Talk to his doctor. Make sure issues like arthritis pain, depression, or dementia aren’t behind the changes to his mood. If those are ruled out and you’ve noticed your dad has few friends, it could be as simple as he’s feeling lonely or isolated.
If he’s alone all week and you don’t have much time to stop by, rely on caregivers for companionship. They can drop in and join him for social activities like meals and trips to museums. They can also help out with tasks that might be more difficult for him to manage.
If he’s having a harder time vacuuming the stairs, doing his laundry, or keeping the kitchen clean, call a home care agency. Caregivers can help him or take over those chores for him and help him enjoy his retirement.