It is perfectly normal to be nervous or anxious sometimes, however, when those feelings become overwhelming and start negatively affecting a person’s life and the lives of those around them, it may become apparent that they are suffering with an anxiety disorder.
Older adults can be particularly susceptible to anxiety disorders, which can be brought on by the stresses of aging. Certain things that could contribute to an anxiety disorder include: a recent bereavement or chronic grief, stress or trauma, a family history of anxiety disorders, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Substance abuse, including prescription medications, alcohol, caffeine, and both over-the-counter and illegal drugs can also contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.
What should you be looking out for? Here are a few signs of anxiety disorder in older adults:
- Avoiding social interactions
- Not sleeping well
- Worrying an excessive amount
- Refusing to take part in routine activities
- Alternatively, being obsessed with routines
- Hoarding or collecting items
- Tense muscles
- Feeling weak and shaky
- Shallow breathing, racing heart, sweating
- Self-medicating with alcohol or other drugs
Aging presents many changes and situations that may trigger an anxiety disorder; these can include declining health, memory problems, and even loss of friends and loved ones. Older adults may express concerns about living alone, financial problems such as how they will afford food or medications, being dependent on others, and even death. These are all common and understandable fears about aging that can lead to extreme worry and fear. Often anxiety and depression can go hand in hand, so knowing the signs to look out for is important in ensuring that your loved one is getting the help and support they need.
If you suspect that an older adult in your life is suffering with an anxiety problem, there are a few things to bear in mind:
- Talk to them calmly and help to reassure them
- Gently encourage them to engage in social activities
- Be supportive without feeding into their anxiety
- Acknowledge their concerns and help them to address them
- Assist them in seeking help from a medical professional
Carefor offers numerous programs and services which can help seniors and their loved ones alleviate stress and anxiety.
In Pembroke-Renfrew County: Living in a retirement home can be a way to combat feelings of anxiety as a compassionate and trained staff are there to make sure you’re taken care of. Outside of that you’ll have friends to share a laugh with so you can stay busy and socially engaged. Carefor’s Civic and Mackay Retirement Homes offer exceptional living at an exceptional price.
In Ottawa: Health complications often arise as we age, sometimes to the point of not being able to leave the house to receive services. In Ottawa, Carefor is best known for our home care services which help seniors and their families have the peace of mind of knowing that a trained health professional will be there to make sure they’re okay.
In Eastern Counties: Aging can come with challenges. One of them is eating properly. Not doing so can decrease health and reduce the anxiety that comes with it. Carefor’s Meal Delivery Program out of our seniors support centres helps seniors make sure they’re getting the nutrition they need, with the added bonus of a friendly face dropping it off.