Anxiety in aging family members is more common than most people realize. Taking a proactive stance about your senior’s anxiety instead of ignoring it can help her to find solutions that work for her.
Exercising According to Her Doctor’s Advice
Exercise helps your senior on so many levels and if her doctor has recommended she start, now might be the time. Besides the obvious physical benefits, there are plenty of emotional and psychological benefits, too. Exercise helps to get the blood flowing in her body and her brain, which is excellent all on its own. Moving more also prompts the brain to release endorphins, which are chemicals that help in mood regulation. Starting out slowly with exercise is your senior’s safest option. She can always ramp up as she gets stronger.
Make Some Changes to Her Diet
Food affects more than most people realize until it becomes a problem. Ingredients like caffeine and sugar can make someone feel jumpier than they normally would. Even if your senior was never sensitive to caffeine in the past, that can change as she ages. Sugar can have a similar impact, and it’s in a lot of different foods. What can help is to help your senior to start a food diary where she tracks what she eats when she eats, and how she feels afterward. You’ll both start to see patterns.
Practice Deep Breathing Exercises
It might sound silly to say that your senior needs to practice breathing, but it’s true. Most people don’t think much about how they’re breathing because it’s an automatic process. During times of anger or anxiety, breathing tends to speed up and become shorter and shallower. When someone is relaxed or sleeping, their breathing tends to be regular and deep. When your senior practices breathing deeply while she’s awake and aware, she can get in tune with helping her body to calm down when it doesn’t need to be anxious.
Delegating Her Stress
Delegating the things that give her stress might sound impossible, but it really isn’t. If your senior is worried that household tasks or errands are going to sap too much of her energy, that feeds her anxiety. It’s easy enough to delegate those tasks to someone else, like elderly care providers. Other tasks, like handling her bills, might be a task she delegates to you. The fewer things she has to manage herself, the more she may be able to relax.
Anxiety can be a side effect of some medications and it can be part of some health conditions, too. If this is new for your senior, talk to her doctor about what might be causing her to feel the way she’s feeling.
The staff at Home Care Matters is available to talk with you and your family about all of your needs. Home Care Matters is a home care agency providing quality and affordable Elder Care in Gainesville, GA, and surrounding areas. Call (770) 965.4004 for more information.
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