Older adults may suffer from various mental health conditions that can cause them to have anxiety and stress. About 10 to 20 percent of older adults have anxiety which harms their mental health and can cripple them from doing mundane daily tasks. This can impact the quality of life they live. It is also important to observe the signs of anxiety in your loved ones. They may show signs of agitation, difficulty in sleeping, and isolating themselves from people. They can also experience physical symptoms like headaches, nausea, and high heart rate. Sometimes, having someone live with them like in assisted living will help reduce anxiety as there is someone who is caring for them and is with them 24 hours. Here are more ways to relieve anxiety in seniors!
Doing deep breathing exercises will help to manage their symptoms of anxiety. When they inhale deeply, the blood receives more carbon dioxide which helps to soothe the part of the brain that is responsible for triggering anxiety. Breathing calms and causes our muscles to relax. When you continue to do these breathing exercises, it becomes more effective. Breathe in for four counts and hold your breath for four counts after which exhale for another four counts.
Practicing a few minutes of mindfulness every single day can largely improve the overall levels of stress and anxiety. Mindfulness is said to be the state of mind where one is fully focused on the present moment instead of worrying about the past or the future. Mindfulness can be extremely effective when it is used with breathing exercises. While you do these exercises, focus on your body and what it is feeling as you exhale and inhale.
Sometimes, anxiety can be caused due to the lack of physical activities. Physical activity is one of the best ways to improve your mental health! You can choose to walk around your neighborhood or use the amenities around your living environment. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals like serotonin and endorphins that make an individual happier and reduce levels of anxiety.
When your loved ones experience loneliness and are not connected to a community, it makes them feel isolated and causes high levels of depression and anxiety. Especially when older adults have limited mobility, it makes it harder for them to be part of the community. Family is a great support to lean on, spending quality time with them makes older adults feel as though they are not alone and can rely on them for emotional support. When we share our problems with people we can trust, the levels of anxiety decrease. Friends and family can distract you from stressful and anxious thoughts.
Older adults can find opportunities for social support in communities like volunteering and religious groups. It is highly important to have people who love and support you through times like this. Sharing and opening up to someone may be difficult at first but it will be worth it in the end. Knowing that you are not going through this alone reduces the levels of anxiety and depression.