Managing the anxiety of elders

If you are an adult with aging parents or grandparents, sixty-five years or older, you are aware of the challenges that age may pose. Though many seniors today are still very active, dynamic, mentally fit and functional, some may exhibit excessive cautiousness, reluctance to engage in previously enjoyed activities that may pose a risk or inconvenience, tend to reserve energy, are more hesitant in decision making, are less social or may be suffering from anxiety that is hindering their ability to fully benefit from life’s joys.

The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation defines Signs of Anxiety Disorders as:

• Exhibiting excessive worry or fear.

• Refusing to do routine activities or avoiding tasks.

• Recoiling from social situations.

• Becoming overly concerned about safety.

• Developing Physiological symptoms: Racing heart, shallow breathing, trembling, nausea, sweating.

• Having difficulty sleeping or rising.

• Developing muscle tension, feeling weak and shaky.

• Becoming obsessed with material possessions such as Hoarding.

• Developing apathy or depression.

• Resorting to self-medicating with alcohol or drugs to reduce the fear and vulnerability.

Michael Dugas of the University of Laval, Quebec described General Anxiety Disorder as: “Intolerance of uncertainty and developing excessive worry of two types: Worry about immediate problems, such as meeting deadlines at work and worry about improbable future events such as one’s child dying in a car accident.”…

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