You can’t always be there. But we can.
It’s believed that up to 20 percent of senior citizens experience anxiety. If you’ve witnessed your mom’s anxiety, it can be alarming. Most anxiety attacks lead to a rapid pulse, shaking, dizziness, sweating, and nausea. You might see your mom pacing, complaining of chest or body pain, and looking terrified.
Anxiety can be triggered by a fear of being in a social setting, post-traumatic stress, or a chronic health condition. Sometimes, that anxiety has no explanation. Either way, easing that anxiety is important.
These four tips often work.
Get Outside and Take a Walk
A walk in the fresh air can often help ease feelings of anxiety and stress. As she walks, she wants to also focus on keeping her breathing regulated. Sometimes, an anxiety attack will increase if there is a fear of being alone during that attack. If she doesn’t want to be alone, join her or get a caregiver, friend, or family member to accompany her.
Close Your Eyes and Breathe
Deep breathing can help decrease feelings of anxiety. When you’re anxious, breathing patterns change. The rapid, shallow breathing can decrease oxygen and cause dizziness. Chest pain can occur because the muscles are working harder.
Have your mom stand or sit in a quiet room or area. She should close her eyes and put one hand on her chest and one on her stomach. The goal of a deep breath is to make the hand on the chest stay completely still while making the hand on the stomach move. She needs to take that deep breath, hold it for a count of 10, and then exhale slowly through the mouth.
Calculate Math Problems in Her Head
Some anxiety attacks have no explanation. Getting the brain to focus on something else can lead to relief. One trick that works for people having a panic attack is to start doing math problems in the head. Your mom could start doubling numbers in her head. Start with 1 plus 1 equals 2. Then, she’d do 2 plus 2 equals 4.
She needs to keep going from there. As the numbers get larger, she’ll have to think harder about the sum when she doubles that number.
Check Prescription Side Effects
Look over your mom’s prescription labels. If any of them have side effects that include anxiety, it’s worth a visit with the doctor to see if there’s another medication that doesn’t cause feelings of anxiety and panic. It may not be possible, but if the medication is causing anxiety, it’s can help to try something else for a while.
Being alone all day, every day can increase anxiety. Caregivers can join your mom for outings, meals, and around the house. Caregiver services may be all your mom needs. Call our caregiver agency to discuss the cost of companionship services.