For seniors, anxiety can become a significant issue affecting their ability to complete daily activities, and potentially leading to an increased incidence of insomnia or depression. The lack of sleep brought about by insomnia can not only exacerbate their anxiety, but also affect their overall health and cause other health conditions to worsen. Therefore, senior homecare experts recommend not summarily dismissing anxiety in the elderly as something that comes with age, but rather digging deeper to determine if a senior’s anxiety is normal and manageable, or if a treatable anxiety disorder is responsible for a senior’s high levels of anxiety.
Senior homecare specialists indicate that it is fairly normal for seniors to worry about declining health, financial issues and similar concerns. What is not typical is to worry obsessively about day to day events and activities for six months or longer. Living in a constant, heightened state of anxiety and worry can affect seniors profoundly, and can lead them to significantly limit their activities and experience sleep issues, depression and other repercussions.
Although there are many different types of anxiety disorders, senior homecare experts note that researchers have found that generalized anxiety disorder may be the most common anxiety disorder among seniors. In the past, doctors have not always identified and treated anxiety disorders in seniors, mistakenly believing that anxiety is simply a part of aging, or failing to recognize that it manifests itself differently in seniors than younger people. Because anxiety is common and can have a significant impact on a senior’s life, it is important that any treatable anxiety disorders are identified and managed to improve the senior’s quality of life and prevent further deterioration and depression.
Just as anxiety disorders manifest themselves differently in older adults than their younger counterparts, senior homecare experts indicate that their treatment may need to vary as well. Treatment can be adapted depending on the individual’s age, other health conditions and any medications that the senior is taking for other conditions. It is possible that regularly seeing a therapist or social worker can provide a great deal of relief for some individuals, others may require medication, and others may benefit from a combination of these treatment options. Senior homecare experts recommend that seniors and their family members contact a doctor, therapist or psychiatrist about the best options for a particular senior who appears to be suffering from unusual levels of anxiety.