Our elderly family members are prone to developing anxiety for a variety of reasons. From fears of falling and injuring themselves, to physical or emotional distresses – anxiety can run rampant among the elderly. It is important to know how to detect it, and how to help our loved ones.
Warning Signs for Anxiety
Keeping a close eye on our elderly family members can help to let us know early on if they are developing anxiety. Some of the warning signs of anxiety are as follows:
• Physical symptoms reported, such as racing heart, shallow breather, nausea, or appetite changes.
• Behavioural changes such as suddenly mixing up their routines, or being over preoccupied. Avoiding social situations may also be noted, along with extreme behaviors such as hoarding.
• Emotional changes may occur such as excessive worrying, obvious moodiness or mood swings, or depression.
Treatment for Anxiety in the Elderly
If symptoms of anxiety are reported, it is important to implement a treatment plan to ensure that the anxious senior gets appropriate help.
Some general tips for relieving anxiety include:
• Including the patient’s primary care physician to rule out physical problems, and to prescribe medications or other treatment if necessary.
• Investigate into triggers for their anxiety – if fear of falling is a trigger, check out local programs to help overcome this issue.
• Encourage the senior to volunteer their time and become more social. Providing a meaningful purpose can help seniors to manage their changing circumstances in life.
Exercise and Stress Management for Seniors
Lets dig deeper into a specific, fundamental tool for managing stress. Exercise.
When we are stressed, our brains react by releasing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Over time, the brain begins to have a more difficult time regulating those hormone levels and begins to produce a larger amount of them. These hormones in large amounts can be harmful to parts of the brain, as well as damaging to your physical health. Studies have shown that higher stress levels are linked to conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system.
How to Manage Stress
To help you to best manage your stress, first pinpoint your stressors. What causes stress in your life? Knowing what most causes you to be stressed will help you to eliminate it. Once you are aware of what causes you stress, the following tips can help to alleviate it:
- Getting your heart rate up for at least thirty minutes per day helps to boost your mood and eliminate stress. Find a physical activity that you enjoy – such as walking, biking, or swimming.
- Be Social. Friends and acquaintances can help to alleviate stress by listening to you and helping you to be social. Often times, you can help them to relieve their stress too.
Try Something New. Changing your routine can help to alleviate stress by giving you something new to focus on. Try a new, interesting hobby or experiment with a change in your daily routine.
- Relief Techniques. Some techniques such as meditating, or yoga may help to alleviate your stress.
Stress management for seniors is something that should not be forgotten about. Luckily, the above tips can help with easing some of the stressors of daily life and help you or your loved ones to feel less stressed out.