As our family members age, they may experience feelings of anxiety. This can happen due to several reasons – they may be grappling with the changes in their bodies, or dealing with the loss of their spouse or a loved one. However, anxiety may not be that scary a monster as our loved ones can overcome their anxiety with help and support. Learn why anxiety in seniors occurs and how we can help them deal with it.
Causes of Anxiety in Seniors
Many factors can make our loved ones anxious. Becoming more dependent on others for help, having a loss of autonomy and a decline in their mental and physical faculties may be some of the reasons that cause our loved ones to suffer from anxiety. They may also be stressing over potential financial problems and do not have anyone to confide in. As such, they may start to feel lonely and become socially isolated. As our loved ones enter the golden years, they may also feel anxious about their health problems and seemingly declining health. The medicines they take may also be causing their anxiety levels to spike.
Symptoms of Anxiety in Older Adults
You may notice changes in your loved ones’ sleeping patterns and eating habits. Your loved ones may also drastically gain or lose weight. Other physical symptoms of anxiety include unexplained chest pains, indigestion, and nausea. They may experience an increase in their heartbeat when facing a situation that they feel anxious about. They may also seem more tired and forgetful than usual. At times, they may be bad-tempered and even lash out at you. Some of them may start to show excessive fear. If our loved ones are constantly feeling anxious, they may resort to substance abuse to deal with their anxiety or withdraw into themselves.
Solutions to Overcome Anxiety
The symptoms listed above may appear frightening but there are ways to help your loved ones overcome their anxiety. Although your loved ones may feel they are unable to control their anxiety levels or enjoy their lives, medication, counseling and even relaxation techniques can help them to overcome their demons.
One solution to manage anxiety is to teach them how to cope with their symptoms. You can do that by helping them recognize their anxiety triggers and symptoms. Reassure them that these symptoms are normal for people with this condition, and many people before them have successfully overcome them.
If your loved one is receiving counseling from certified professionals, encourage them to practice the coping strategies recommended by their therapists. Gently remind your loved ones to take their prescriptions on time so they can keep their anxiety symptoms at bay.
Another solution is to encourage your loved ones to spend more time with the people they care about. Encourage them to participate in community events with their friends and family. By spending more time with the people they love, the sense of belonging, social connections and support they receive can help your loved ones overcome their anxiety.
You can also encourage your loved ones to eat healthy foods, exercise more, and get adequate sleep. These healthy habits can help elevate their moods and empower them in their fight against anxiety. You can ask your loved ones to create a routine too! This can provide your loved ones with a sense of autonomy and control over their lives, and reduce their levels of anxiety.
If your loved ones still feel that they are unable to cope with their anxiety levels, you can encourage them to seek help. Don’t worry! There are many places that specialize in helping seniors deal with anxiety. After all, everyone has the right to a healthy and enjoyable life, no matter their age.