Caring For A Senior With Bipolar Disorder

Navigating the tumultuous waves of bipolar disorder can be strenuous; not just for the individual diagnosed with the condition but also for those within their circle. 

The emotional shifts and behaviors of a person grappling with bipolar disorder can influence everyone in their proximity, particularly impacting immediate family and close friends.

This can stress your relationships and create disturbances in every aspect of family life.

Throughout a manic period, you may rest with erratic actions, excessive demands, fiery outbursts, and thoughtless decisions.

When the turbulence of the manic phase has diminished, the responsibility to handle the repercussions often lands on your shoulders. 

During episodes of depression, it might become necessary for you to compensate for a loved one who lacks the energy to manage responsibilities at home or at work.

Here is how to care for a senior with bipolar disorder.

Consider Nonpharmacological Treatments

There’s not an abundance of evidence about the effectiveness of specific psychotherapies for people with Older Age Bipolar Disorders (OABD).

However, the available information suggests that Medication Adherence Skills Training (MAST-BD) enhances adherence to medications, the capability to manage these medications, depression symptoms, and certain aspects of health-related quality of life – such as energy levels and social interaction – in older individuals with bipolar disorders.

A manual-based healthcare model (BCM), which includes self-management sessions focusing on managing BD symptoms, adopting healthy habits, engaging with providers, coordinating care via telephone, reinforcing self-management goals, and education about guidelines centered on BD medical issues, has demonstrated improvements in patient satisfaction, completion rates, and a good tolerance to treatment among those with OABD.

Provide Support While Maintaining Respect for Limits

Demonstrate empathy, extend assistance, and acknowledge the choices and limitations of those dealing with bipolar disorder.

We’re not in a position to oversee someone’s mental health, but we have the ability to listen and render support through love, creating a comfortable atmosphere, and accepting their individuality.

Stay away from pressuring them into therapy if they claim to be unprepared, and show respect for emotional space when they can’t fully engage in the relationship.

Motivate your loved one to seek professional help and provide them with accessible resources. However, it’s crucial to back their chosen course of action.

They might set restrictions around their treatment or its absence, and a key aspect of caring for someone with bipolar disorder is respecting these boundaries.

Motivate Your Loved One To Seek Assistance

Numerous individuals can effectively manage bipolar disorder symptoms through appropriate treatment.

Husky Senior Care can offer professional care that can significantly enhance a person’s quality of life, even though it may seem intimidating initially.

There are individuals with bipolar disorder who may not feel prepared to seek treatment, leading to caregiver frustration.

If you want your loved one to receive additional support, adopting an approach of gentle persuasion, patience, and understanding can be beneficial. Regularly remind them they’re not alone and that various resources are available.

When they feel ready to pursue treatment, extend your support by offering to accompany them to their appointments and seek information about any medications they might be prescribed.

While it’s crucial for professionals to handle the treatment, your active involvement in facilitating help can position you as a trusted ally when they may feel alienated from the world.

Implement Measures To Avoid Exhaustion As A Caregiver

The role of a caregiver can pose various difficulties, with the burden often disregarded, as highlighted in a 2014 study.

A significant majority, almost 70%, of those providing care for individuals with bipolar disorder reported their personal lives and emotional health greatly impacted by the condition.

Reports from caregivers dealing with bipolar disorder also indicate:

  • Elevated stress levels
  • Declining overall health
  • Increased signs of physical or mental health issues, including feelings of depression

Looking after someone with bipolar disorder demands challenging societal prejudices and navigating financial obstacles.

Regardless of your connection to the individual, caregiving can be draining. This underscores the importance of self-care while caring for others.

As much as your goal is to assist your loved one, looking after your needs is equally vital.

Get The Paperwork

When an aged parent poses a risk to their own safety or that of others, it may be necessary for their adult children to obtain a medical power of attorney.

This allows them to make critical health decisions for their elderly parents.

Particular disorders introduce distinct obstacles. In the case of Anxiety (such as OCD) or Depressive disorders (like Depression or Bipolar Disorder), it’s advantageous to postpone any conversation until the elderly parent has recovered from an episode.

Both manic and depressive periods can make discussions around delicate subjects challenging.


Assisting a person with bipolar disorder can indeed be testing. Their mood swings might be erratic, making it hard to determine the best response or strategy.

However, your proactive engagement can significantly impact your friend or family member’s life.

The assurance that you’re a reliable support for them can encourage adherence to their treatment regimen and foster a more optimistic outlook.

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