Health Concerns That Can Cause Mood Swings in Seniors


A number of common health concerns may cause mood swings in seniors.

We all have good days and bad days, and we are all entitled to a bit of crankiness or negative thinking every so often. If you are taking care of an older adult who seems to have fallen into a routine of ongoing complaining and negativity, however, it is worth exploring whether a health problem might be the reason.

Listed below are several reasons for mood swings in seniors, and how you can help.

  1. Urinary tract infections. A UTI’s classic signs and symptoms of burning, pain, and urgency to urinate may include additional effects for seniors, including angry outbursts, irritability, confusion, as well as other modifications to behavior or mood. Talk to the doctor to rule out a urinary tract infection if you notice these types of uncharacteristic behaviors.
  2. Pain. A recent research study found that participants who were enduring chronic pain reported a rise in negative moods, including fatigue, anger, tension, depression, anxiety, and much more. It’s important to discuss any of these mood changes with the physician, as these types of mood changes actually impact the effectiveness of pain management treatments.
  3. Medication side effects. A wide range of medications – including those meant to help with mood, such as antidepressants – may cause troublesome mood swings. Medications for hypertension, inflammation, and seizures may cause behavioral and personality changes in some people. Once again, speak with the physician and go through each of the senior’s prescriptions to determine if the problem is due to one medication, or maybe the interaction of multiple medications together.
  4. Dementia. Mood and personality changes are typical in dementia. It is crucial to recognize that these changes are a symptom of the physiological changes in the brain, and are not a reflection of the person’s own choices and decisions. There are medicinal and natural treatment options that can help the person feel calmer and less agitated that you may desire to explore.

Negativity can arise from boredom or loneliness, too. Whatever the cause, chronic negativity and mood swings in seniors can wear on a caregiver’s own sense of peace and wellbeing. It is important to be able to step away from your care role on a regular basis, and to make this time away a top priority. The senior will also benefit from the opportunity to spend time with a variety of friends, family members, or a professional caregiver. These breaks are a healthy part of your caregiver/care receiver relationship – for both of you.

CareWorks Health Services’ caregivers are excellent companions to help brighten the mood of the seniors we serve. All of our caregiving staff are fully trained, background checked, and accomplished in a wide range of home care services for seniors. Contact us at (949) 859-4700 to learn how our home care in Corona Del Mar and neighboring communities can help someone you love, while allowing you the time needed to rest and rejuvenate.