The elderly have an inherent gift for turning minor elderly problems into major dramas when they feel the occasion warrants a little attention seeking. Just as children will seek attention from a parent intent on ignoring them, the elderly will turn cartwheels (figuratively speaking of course) to feature as the main attraction, usually when you least desire to be attracted!
Attention seeking is a symptom of a greater need. Old age can be tough and sometimes elderly problems wash over the most confident and sunny disposition, rendering a person vulnerable and susceptible to loneliness. This is when an elderly friend of relative is likely to seek your attention, as this is when your attention is most needed: it’s as simple as that.
An unfortunate feature of attention seeking behaviour is that it is not always important to seek attention of a particular quality – any attention will do! As a result, the behaviour which is designed to draw attention can sometimes be embarrassing and unwelcome; the worst kind of elderly problem.
The elderly do not seek attention simply to cause inconvenience to loved ones and friends. Such antics are usually only employed as a last resort and likely after a prolonged period of isolation or loneliness. Elderly problems come in a variety of packages and coming to terms with solitude and isolation is something few people tackle successfully in advanced old age or even much earlier.
Most caring professionals who deal with elderly problems on a daily basis deal with attention seeking behaviour firmly but gently. There is nothing to be gained in reacting angrily to situations where compassion and friendliness bring better results.
For those who seek attention and those who strive to provide attention to the seeker, the advice is the same – activity and social interaction. Keeping the brain alive and the body active is the only answer to the kind of loneliness and solitude that prompts such elderly problems; that and making such activities available on a continued program, on a regular basis.
The antidote to attention seeking is attention itself. The lack of interaction with others is the worm that eats away a person’s sociability, making them a target for all kinds of dysfunctional attitudes and elderly problems.
For elderly people who are wheelchair bound or unable to attend formal groups, a provided companion will stave off the symptoms of isolation sufficiently to eradicate attention seeking behaviour and its related elderly problems. There is no need for the elderly to run marathons and take degrees in applied science to achieve a sense of worth and freedom: stimulation may be just as easily acquired by an hour’s socializing with a good friend by your side.
This Psychological Article on The Psychology of Attention Seeking in the Elderly is part of Boomer Yearbook’s continuing series of suggestions on coaching and how to alleviate elderly problems. We believe knowledge is power. We’d love to hear what you think.
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