Is Your Elderly Loved One Experiencing Anxiety?


Elderly Anxiety

Has your parent’s outlook on life or attitude shifted as they have progressed into retirement? Imagine slowly losing your freedom due to aging and physical constraints. What once was your happy home can become an island that you’re stuck on, and in order to leave you have to inconvenience family members. This is an unfortunate reality that many retirees face at some point during their retirement years, and the associated anxiety can have an extremely negative impact when not identified and addressed.


Anxiety can be a very prevalent thing as one adapts to living their life a little differently and not being able to do all the things they used to be able to. It is important to be aware of what the possible symptoms, triggers, and risks might be in order to provide the proper care and know how a licensed home health agency can provide assistance to your loved one.


There are a variety of different anxiety disorders that are out there, but these should not be considered a normal part of the aging process and we should be on the lookout for the symptoms to ensure that anyone suffering from anxiety can receive the proper care. Even if only for a few hours per day, having a home health aide or companion could be of great benefit for individuals with anxiety.


What To Look Out For


Anxiety can manifest as a variety of symptoms, some of which include:


  • Shakiness * Nightmares

  • Difficulty breathing * Scary thoughts

  • Dizziness * Irritability

  • Lightheadedness * Avoidance of activities, places, people, etc.

  • Sweating * Changes in weight, appetite, or eating habits

  • Nausea * Sleep disturbances, including sleeping too much or too little

  • Digestion Problems * Resistance to leaving home

  • Chest pain * Withdrawal and isolating behavior

  • Headaches * Obsessive thoughts

  • Eyes and vision problems * Compulsive behavior

  • Muscle tension or soreness * Panic

  • Fatigue * Abuse of substances

  • Confusion

  • Irrational thoughts

  • Forgetfulness

This is a rather extensive list that includes many of the possible symptoms. However, it is important to realize that mental illness symptoms are not cut and dry and not all of these symptoms may be present.


It is recommended to go to a doctor if your loved one exhibits one or more of these symptoms to obtain a professional opinion. A doctor might suggest a companion caretaker to be around and assist with any complications.


Possible Complications


Untreated anxiety could put those who suffer from it at risk for other physical complications such as:


  • A weakened immune system

  • Muscle tension

  • High blood pressure

  • Nervous system fatigue

  • Digestion problems

  • Ulcers

  • Cardiovascular problems

  • Difficulty breathing

Anxiety might also be a trigger for other mental illnesses such as depression, since having to deal with all these overwhelming symptoms and emotions might spiral.

Another complication would be anxiety attacks. Anxiety attacks are essentially times when anxiety comes on very strong and in a very overwhelming way that triggers physical symptoms that resemble more serious health conditions.

This might include hyperventilating, difficulty breathing, and a feeling of not knowing what to do. Anxiety attacks can be very frightening experiences, due to the physical symptoms that make it seem as if something more serious is going on with the individual that is experiencing the attack.


Triggers for Anxiety


As mentioned before, mental illnesses are not cut and dry and it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact triggers for anxiety in individuals. However, being aware of some of the common triggers can be helpful when evaluating the situation your loved one is in and assessing any homecare services they might benefit from.

Some of the more common triggers for anxiety to look out for include:


  • Financial insecurity

  • Health problems

  • Dementia

  • Loss of independence

  • Roll reversal

  • End-of-life planning

  • Grief and loss

  • Immobility

  • Chronic pain

  • Changes in sensory perception

  • Isolation

All these factors can be extremely hard to adjust too due to how different they might be from the life circumstances one was accustomed to before.


How A Home Health Caregiver Could Be Of Assistance