If your senior parent or loved one is experiencing anxiety and needing elder care at home, you are not alone. New research is showing that anxiety affects twice as many seniors as depression does, and that generalized anxiety disorder might be the most common mental disorder among the elderly, affecting 7% of seniors compared with depression which affects only 3%.
Due to lack of evidence being available since little research is being conducted on anxiety in the elderly population, doctors often consider it to be a rare disorder in that age group and it isn’t diagnosed or treated as often in older patients.
Nevertheless, anxiety is quite common in the elderly and can in fact have a serious impact on their quality of life.
How to recognize signs of anxiety in your senior:
• Avoidance of social situations or events
• Excessive fear or worry
• Being overly preoccupied with routine, or refusal to do routine activities
• Racing heart
• Sweating, nausea, trembling, or shallow breathing
• Poor sleep or sleep disturbances
• Being unusually concerned about safety
If you suspect that your senior is suffering with anxiety or other mental health disorder, schedule an appointment with their doctor or other health care practitioner for a diagnosis and plan of treatment.
Aside from medical intervention, there are things that you can do at home that may help ease the symptoms of anxiety that your senior or loved one is experiencing, such as:
Help Manage Stress
Sometimes talking to a family friend or spiritual leader can help seniors who need someone to talk to. Sometimes the companionship of a caregiver is enough. Developing a meditation practice is another good way to have seniors experiencing anxiety learn to quiet their thoughts and focus on breathing and relaxation. Find what works to ease their mind and what comforts them in a healthy way.
Some seniors receiving elder care at home are content to sit alone in their favorite chair watching television all day, but that may lead to anxious thoughts or worries when they have nothing to keep their mind busy. Card games or word puzzles, knitting, and visits with friends to encourage socialization are ways that you can keep your senior busy so they are thinking about stressors less.
Take a walk around the block or have their caregiver take them to a park or to another outdoor event or activity to get a change of environment and get some exercise.
Things like caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine can aggravate symptoms in some people with anxiety.
Talk to your parent’s doctor if you suspect any of their medications may be playing a role or exacerbating symptoms of anxiety as well.
Hiring an elder care aid to be present with your loved one with anxiety can offer peace of mind during times that you cannot be with them.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care in Naples, FL, call the caring staff at Dial-a-Nurse today. Naples: (239) 307-0033. Ft. Myers: (239) 307-0065.
In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.
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