Mar 01
Oaks Senior Living Blog Senior Anxiety

How to Help a Senior Friend with Anxiety

Posted by Oaks Senior Living | 3 minute read

According to Harvard Medical School, one of the most common illnesses facing individuals 60 years of age and older is anxiety. There are a multitude of reasons why seniors can develop anxiety; illness, trouble sleeping, depression, a decline in mobility, or even a loss of independence. Fortunately, if you know a senior that may be facing these issues, there are various anxiety treatments and ways you can help them cope.

Take a Break

Sometimes when a senior is dependent on caregiving, they can mistakenly think of themselves as a burden or perhaps they simply need a break from their everyday life. Respite care programs can be a mini vacation for the senior living at home. With these programs, they will receive physical activity, social engagement, and in most cases, all of the other benefits that accompany living in a senior community. If the senior in your life is dependent on home care, help them learn more!

Social Support

Feeling lonely and isolated ­­­­­can lead to depression and anxiety. Some seniors tend to withdrawal from social outings for a variety of reasons and let negative thoughts settle in. You may have a senior friend or relative who is dealing with a loss or illness that may be keeping them isolated. The best anxiety treatment for a lonely senior i­s for you to visit and call them often. Encourage other friends and family members to do the same.

Oaks Senior Living Blog Senior Anxiety

Seniors can also receive social support from numerous groups or clubs. You can try and encourage the senior in your life to join a prayer group or book club. Other ways they can get involved socially are:

  • Volunteering Locally
  • Joining a Senior Living Community
  • Joining Social Media
  • Reaching Out to a Pen Pal
  • Playing Online Games 

If the senior in your life is maintaining their social life yet experiencing issues with anxious thoughts, there are other methods to help them calm their minds.

Relaxing Exercises

Scientists and therapists have spent years developing various anxiety treatments. Unfortunately, one solution does not fit all. The good news is that, if one treatment does not work, there are other methods to try and promote relaxation. For seniors dealing with anxiety, the thought of attempting one of these exercises may make them uncomfortable. If you have someone in your life you believe would benefit from these activities, then suggest trying them together for the first time.

  • Meditation can benefit those suffering from anxiety. This exercise can be as simple as closing your eyes. For the most calming experience, try sitting with the senior in your life and playing relaxing music or perhaps calming nature sounds. Ask them to close their eyes with you and just focus on the music, while clearing their mind. There are various forms and techniques of meditation, and some may be more beneficial than others.

  • According to the Anxiety and Depression Association, one of the best anxiety treatments is simple, deep breathing. If you notice the senior in your life starting to get upset, ask them to take a deep breath with you and repeat it three times. Sometimes taking a deep breath and counting to ten can be beneficial for calming racing thoughts.

  • EFT Tapping has been helpful for some seniors dealing with anxiety. This exercise applies a technique similar to acupuncture but without the needles. It has also been used for various issues and involves the action of methodically tapping on various parts of the body, such as the side of the eye. Click here to learn more! 

Other ways you can encourage the senior in your life to remain calm is by limiting alcohol, coffee, and other stimulants. These items can increase activity and anxious thoughts. Eating well-balanced meals, exercising daily, and getting plenty of sleep can also help the senior in your life manage their anxiety. If you are still concerned about your close friend or relative, encourage them to seek professional help and maybe even offer to drive to show additional support.

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At Oaks Senior Living, we take strides in helping seniors manage their anxiety. Whether it is providing respite care or hosting more social events for residents, we want everyone to lead a relaxed and engaging life. If you are interested in learning more about Oaks Senior Living, contact us today!

 Senior Living,  Social Wellness

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