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How to Help Seniors with Anxiety

one of many seniors with anxiety lies in bed during the day

While people can have anxiety at any age, it is increasingly common to see seniors with anxiety. Stressful life events, such as bereavement, chronic health conditions, and a loss of independence, can cause anxiety in seniors. There is also a familial tendency to develop an anxiety disorder. Regardless of the cause, improving a senior’s everyday life can go a long way toward bettering their mental health. Enrolling them in lifestyle programs can enrich their lives and increase their daily enjoyment.

At Buckner, we offer a wide variety of educational and recreational lifestyle programs that can cater to every senior’s needs and interests. Our thriving community can provide exciting and fun activities among a group of like-minded peers that can expand your elderly loved one’s social circle. Contact us at 214.227.7182 to learn more about what we can offer.

Types of Anxiety in Seniors

Seniors with anxiety may have any number of symptoms or causes of their mental health condition. There are several types of anxiety disorders or other mental health conditions that cause anxiety, including:

  • Phobias – This is when someone has a debilitating fear of specific situations or things that are not actual major threats, like the fear of heights or of tight spaces.
    Social anxiety disorder – This pertains to severe nervousness of self-consciousness while in everyday scenarios involving other people. This may be caused by a fear of embarrassing themselves or a fear of being judged. People with this kind of anxiety disorder may actively avoid interacting with other people, increasing isolation and loneliness.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder – People with this disorder struggle with compulsions or recurring thoughts that are intrusive and disturbing. These people tend to perform actions repeatedly in order to feel a sense of control over themselves and their surroundings.
  • Panic disorder – A person with a panic disorder can get sudden feelings of terror that are accompanied by chest pain, nausea, or feeling faint. These attacks can happen randomly and can happen even without being triggered by anything. In older adults, this might feel like a heart attack or a stroke.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder – This type of anxiety is often associated with going through a traumatic event. Seniors are susceptible to being triggered by feelings of helplessness that can be caused by declining health.

What Are the Signs of Anxiety in Seniors?

Even though anxiety can occur at any age, it often has a larger negative impact on senior adults. Anxiety can worsen their physical health and decrease their overall sense of well-being. It can even interfere with their ability to perform regular daily activities. It is important to watch out for these signs that a senior may have anxiety:

  • Trouble sleeping, such as nightmares or insomnia
  • Unexplained changes in appetite, eating habits, or weight
  • Problems with focus and memory
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Irrational and obsessive thoughts, including uncontrollable feelings of fear or panic
  • Ritualistic behavior
  • Disproportionate reaction to fear
  • Reluctance or refusal to engage in certain activities, people, or places

Best Activities for Seniors with Anxiety

If an elderly adult is experiencing anxiety, the best solution would be to seek the proper medical treatment and follow the prescribed treatment plan. In addition, it is beneficial to encourage activities that can help boost a senior loved one’s mood. A few examples are:

  • Ensuring that they are well-rested and are getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
  • Encouraging them to talk about and share their feelings and experiences with family members, friends, or with a support group for anxiety.
  • Giving them opportunities to expand their social support network by attending events and activities for senior adults.
  • Enrolling them in a yoga or meditation class to help them manage their stress and allow them to feel more relaxed.
  • Making sure they are leading healthy, active lives by giving them options for activities that they find enjoyable and engaging.

Sign up for Lifestyle Programs for Seniors in Texas

At Buckner, we believe that everyone can live full, vibrant lives regardless of age. Our wide array of lifestyle programs provides enriching activities and a welcoming community that can aid senior adults who are dealing with loneliness and anxiety. If you or a loved one is interested in joining our programs, contact us at 214.227.7182 to get started.