At some point in our lives, we’ve all experienced being anxious about something—a test result, a job interview, money matters, and sometimes, even getting old. We worry that we’re already in our 30s and yet we haven’t achieved something significant in our lives. So, if you worry that much when you’re young and healthy, imagine how our elders are worried about their own significance and mortality.
A sense of being is the primary culprit of anxiety in seniors. Many of them will suffer from debilitating health conditions that will render them unable to function without the help of a caregiver. Imagine your grandfather, who was a World War II veteran, not being able to function like he used to. How would that make him feel?
Thankfully, there is a lot more information about anxiety in senior adults now. Their families and caregivers can better understand what they need to do to address these issues. Though it is a lot of work, these will help your loved ones to cope with their anxiety and panic attacks:
Find Activities That They Will Enjoy
Take their minds off things by looking for activities that they will enjoy. Older people usually suffer from dry and sensitive skin. You can use a body scrub made for dry skin so you’re addressing a skin problem and spending time with them at the same time. Does your grandfather love to play chess and Chinese checkers as some of these older adults do? Then, why don’t you learn it and wow him with your skills? He would love to see you try to learn something for him.
Don’t Dismiss Their Emotions
How guilty are you about dismissing your seniors’ emotions? Far too many times, you might have overlooked the real reasons why they are anxious. It might be because they feel that they are becoming a burden. It might be because they are financially constrained. Whatever the reasons are, lend an open ear. Listen to them. Let them know that you care for them and that you are going to be there for them every step of the way.
Spend Time With Them
They will often feel that they are a burden to you if you cannot stop and talk with them. Make it a point to spend time with them. It doesn’t have to be a full day. Having meals with them is a great way to find out where they are mentally. Are they worried? Are they happy? This will give you a glimpse into how they are faring.
Consult With a Professional
They might not be open to the idea of going to a psychiatrist. Few senior adults are willing to open up to a stranger, no matter if that stranger has a doctorate. Instead, why don’t you consult with a professional on how best to handle your loved ones’ anxiety? They can give you pointers, as well as guide you in identifying signs that you should already seek emergency professional help.
The thing about anxiety is that it cripples a person from the inside. It doesn’t always manifest itself physically, but it can impact your loved ones’ life so much that they will begin hating the life they have. Watch out for the signs and be ready to work with them through it. Allow yourself to ask for help, too, when you need it.