It’s no secret that elderly adults often experience heightened levels of anxiety. In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, around 40 million American adults over the age of 18 suffer from some form of anxiety disorder. While there are many effective treatments available, including medication and therapy, you can also do a few things on your own to help reduce anxiety in elderly adults.
Older adults can experience anxiety just like any other age group. However, some unique elements of anxiety in elderly adults deserve attention.
Uncommon Knowledge: Anxiety in Elderly
The elderly are one of the most at-risk populations when it comes to experiencing fear and worry. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help reduce these feelings in your loved ones. This post will look at some of the best tips for reducing fear and worry in elderly adults. We’ll also discuss how to help your loved ones cope with any fears or worries that may arise. So keep reading for advice on making your elderly loved ones feel more comfortable and secure.
Tips for interacting with an elder that’s confused or scared:
- Be sure to greet the elder with a smile and introduce yourself
- Use their name when you speak to them
- Keep your voice at a normal level; don’t yell or talk too softly
- Speak slowly, use short sentences, and repeat words if necessary
- Sit down next to the elder and make eye contact while talking to them
- Touch gently on their arm or hand for reassurance (but not too much)
- Keep eye contact without staring
- Avoid sudden movements or loud noises
- Be mindful of your tone
- Try not to use unfamiliar words
General tips and ideas for longer-term fear management:
- Pets can be wonderful if they don’t pose too much of an additional caretaking burden.
- Management of personal space is important – some, but not too much. Don’t crowd, but make sure they know you’re around and about.
- Remind them that they aren’t alone and that you are always there for them
- Encourage exercise
- Ask the elder what they’d like to eat, listen to the music of their choice; or watch a TV show they enjoy
- Encourage the person to get out of bed if they are feeling well enough
- Be understanding regarding personal space
Fear Management for the Elderly
Fear can be crippling for anyone at any age. Still, when it comes to seniors, especially those in long-term care facilities, fear can significantly negatively impact their quality of life. This is why caregivers and facility staff need to understand how to manage anxiety in elderly adults and help them overcome any fears they may have.
Speak with Dr. Liz Geriatrics for More Tips on Caring for an Elder with Anxiety
It can be challenging to care for an elderly loved one experiencing anxiety. But with the help of a doctor specializing in geriatrics, you can learn more about the best ways to support your loved one. Dr. Liz Geriatrics can help you provide optimal support for your elder family member. Contact them today at 650-357-8834 x1.
Elizabeth (Dr Liz) has over twenty years of experience in providing medical care to the elders. She is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care Medicine. Dr Landsverk founded ElderConsult Geriatric Medicine, a house calls practice, to address the challenging medical and behavioral issues often facing older patients and their families.