Owners' Blog

Anxiety Disorders and the Elderly

By Greg and Hilary Eldridge

Caregivers near Johns Creek, GA

Anxiety disorders can appear in the older adult. With this type of disorder, the elderly person can experience worry and fear. It can become long-term and increase in severity instead of getting better if they don’t receive some help. Unfortunately, most people including many doctors associate fear and anxiety as normal stages withy aging. But experts agree this is not a normal phase of aging.

Up to 15% of older adults experience anxiety disorders each year. It is more common on women than men. Stressful events in life can cause some anxiety and this is normal. Think of moving, changing jobs, and so on. There is anxiety associated with those type of big events. But an anxiety disorder is long-lasting. It can occur simultaneously with heart disease, depression, diabetes or other medical issues. These other medical issues need to be dealt with before a person can respond significantly to treatment for anxiety.

Some common types of anxiety disorders

Briefly, some of the common anxiety disorders and a simple one-sentence description are:

Panic disorder – a sudden and unexplained feeling of terror and impending doom; the heart may be pounding.

Obsessive-Compulsive disorder – the uncontrollable feeling of having to check and double-check things over and over; the thoughts and rituals interfere with daily life.

Post-traumatic stress disorder – commonly experienced by vets and others who have been through a terrifying ordeal or witnessed others going through one.

Specific phobia – an extreme and intense fear of something that doesn’t really pose any immediate danger, such as tunnels, spiders, heights, seeing blood etc.

How can you help your loved one?

First of all, seek the professional help they need. A diagnosis and a treatment plan can go a long way towards coping and healing. Giving them support and encouragement is vitally important as well.

Let them know they are loved, needed and wanted. This will help to boost their confidence. While it may not be the cure for an anxiety disorder, it certainly boosts their confidence to seek help and be treated.

Make sure they aren’t lonely. Isolation and loneliness will only exacerbate an anxiety disorder and give them too much time to think about all the bad things that could happen. Keep them busy with cheerful activities that involve lots of family members. It doesn’t have to be a big crowd of people, but involving the family means there are more people to take turns visiting your elderly loved one.

Getting the help of a home care provider would mean that you don’t need to worry about your elderly loved one being alone. He or she would have someone to take them to doctor appointments, do fun activities, take them to family get-togethers and help with personal and home care.

If you or an aging loved one are looking for senior care in the home, contact the caring staff at Home Helpers of Alpharetta. Call today (678) 430-8511