Upset senior African American man with relativeAccording to an article published in Harvard Medical School, anxiety is a common problem and one of the common forms of medical illness for seniors aged 60 years and above. If your seniors are having anxious thoughts, or are getting anxiety spells then they are certainly not the only ones to experience all this.

Causes of Anxiety for Seniors

  • Reduced independence due to poor health issues 
  • Failing memory
  • Stress due to their ill health
  • Chronic illness
  • Lack of sleep
  • Side effects of various medications taken for ailments
  • Stress of their own mortality

Anxiety, when left untreated for long periods, is harmful to the body.

6 Ways to Reduce Stress in Our Seniors

When stress and anxiety is untreated, then it seriously creates havoc in our body, from spending sleepless nights to getting high pulse rates. Anxiety does more harm than any good for us. Old age is that part of life, where the organ functioning slows down a little. It is not as efficient as it used to be some years ago. There is also frequent falls and accidents, causing a sudden loss of independence. And the top of the list is a terminal illness, which simply refuses to go away. All these conditions make anxiety almost a natural phenomenon in our seniors. However, it also worsens their existing condition. Making the journey of old age really difficult for our parents.

  1. Exercise-This is one of the most effective ways to relieve stress and anxiety. Calming exercises have proved to be beneficial in relieving anxiety. You should encourage your loved one to get into the habit of exercising regularly. We do not recommend our seniors to indulge in high–impact physical activities. But we do expect them to practice some low-impact exercises. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends seniors to practice breathing exercises. Practice the breathing exercise like this. In case of tense situation, taking some slow and even breaths can offer immediate relief. You can also practice counting in general. For example, if certain thoughts are making you anxious. Then focus on counting from 1–20 and focus on breathing steadily. Repeat this few times, to get relief from anxiety.
  2. Practice your hobby-With old age, not all seniors get a chance to practice their hobbies and relive their good old days. For example: reading a book, listening to music, gardening, fishing, or playing instruments. This can certainly make them happy and relieve anxiety. Listening to soothing music is yet another great way to relax and calm the disturbed mind.
  3. Nighttime stress-It is clear that our seniors are particularly more disturbed during the night hours. And this is one of the major reasons for their disturbed sleep and irritability during rest of the day. Nigh-time stress stems from worries having an emergency that may arise during the night. And the availability to reach medical helps at the right time. One of the best solutions to this problem is to hire a caregiver, who can spend the entire night with your senior. This will prevent your senior from experiencing loneliness during the night. And also give them the assurance that someone is always there for help in case of emergency. This will significantly reduce their anxiety. And stress and allow them to sleep peacefully throughout the night.
  4. Routine- Setting routines has found to have a calming effect on our seniors. Routines minimize surprises, which eventually diminishes the anxious feelings of our seniors. By setting up a proper routine for our seniors. Routines promise predictability and a predictable schedule is calming for our anxious seniors. For example, if you schedule seniors meet on a particular day of every week or some activity. Then our seniors would look forward to that particular day. Which would, in turn, decrease their anxiety.
  5. Social support-Loneliness is one of the prime causes of anxiety and our seniors often feel lonely and isolated. Along with: Physical ailments, poor physical health, diminishing mental health and chronic illness. All somehow steal away the independence from our beloved senior. Therefore, the best way to relieve anxiety is to ensure that our seniors have a strong social support. Social support ensures that our seniors have someone to fall back upon, whenever they feel lonely and isolated. There are many ways of providing social support for our seniors. You can enroll your seniors into social programs, especially meant for seniors. You can also ask the family members to visit every alternate day so that they spend quality time with your seniors.
  6. Professional help-When the above-mentioned ways are not helpful in relieving anxiety. Then it is best to seek professional help. You can talk to the doctor, who would be the best person to tell you in this regard. Medications have often been helpful in this. And many seniors have benefitted from anti-anxiety medications.

Anxiety, as explained is a common phenomenon amongst the senior population. And our beloved seniors often experience anxiety spells due to various reasons. Our seniors do need our support in this phase of their life, if you find your senior experiencing anxiety symptoms. Then you seriously need to give all the above-mentioned tips a try.