Anxiety is a problem your senior might have only faced in certain situations before. As she’s gotten older, though, anxiety might be a much more common companion. Having a plan to deal with anxious feelings can help your senior to feel more in control of what’s happening.
Get Her Doctor Involved
Anxiety might be showing up in your senior’s life now for a variety of reasons. She might have a medical condition that makes her feel anxious, both as a physical symptom and just being anxious about her health. Or some medications have side effects that contribute to anxiety. Whatever the cause, talking with her doctor can help to rule out medical reasons for the anxiety and might get the situation under better control for her.
If You Can Stay Calm, That Can Help
For some people it’s difficult to keep themselves calm when someone around them is anxious. Your senior might express her anxiety in a lot of different ways, but if you find her anxiety triggering for you, that builds for both of you. Practice calming techniques for yourself and walk your senior through them, too. Grounding by describing items that she sees in the room can help, as can deep breathing exercises.
Flexible Routines Give Her Structure She Can Rely On
Routines give your senior a solid structure, which helps her to know what to expect every single day. But if those routines are too rigid, that can give her anxiety a shove. Keep schedules fairly loose when you can and make sure that appointments are spaced appropriately. Make sure that you do leave some “margin time” so that she doesn’t feel rushed through her day.
Talk about Changes Before They Happen
Changes are going to occur for your senior, but it’s better if those changes don’t catapult her into an anxiety attack. For instance, you may be considering home care providers to help with your elderly family member’s care. Having someone new around might be a scary idea for her, though. Talk about that decision and the reasons for it and give her a chance to adjust to the new situation instead of springing it on her.
Much of what helps your senior to cope with her anxiety depends on the cause. Some people find that talking to a therapist or counselor can help a lot. If your elderly family member is willing to go to talk therapy, she can learn a variety of techniques that can help when she’s feeling extra anxious.