National Mental Health Month takes place every May. Anxiety is a common mental health issue affecting many adults, but it tends to get overlooked in seniors. Could your dad be suffering from anxiety or is there something else going on?
Dr. Keri-Leigh Cassidy and Dr. Neil Rector wrote about anxiety in seniors in 2008. In this report, the doctors discussed how anxiety disorders are twice as common as the different forms of dementia. Part of the problem is that anxiety disorders can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms mimic other conditions or diseases. Learn more about how to help your dad.
Seek Medical Care
Be your dad's advocate. Take your dad to the doctor and ask that tests be run to rule out underlying health issues. An anxiety attack often presents itself by making you feel dizzy, increasing your heart rate, causing you to feel shaky or weak, and leading to tingling in the hands and feet. These symptoms can also be an indicator of heart disease, so it's important to have your dad's heart checked.
If tests find nothing concerning, ask to have your dad meet with a specialist in anxiety. Some patients do well learning positive self-talk, but others need anti-anxiety medications. If your dad needs medications, ask about possible side effects, the amount of time before the medications will help, and any contraindications.
Spending time outside together can help your dad's anxiety. You don't have to go far. Start a garden together or go for a walk. Exercise and fresh air are beneficial when you have anxiety. Some people with anxiety find being on the beach soothing. You can always gather the family and spend a day together at the beach. You do want to listen to your dad, however, and make sure the activities you're planning are things that interest him.
Make Sure Your Dad Has Plenty of Support
Sometimes being alone for hours each day or for days each week is enough to spark feelings of anxiety. Make sure your dad is not lonely. If you can't be there every day due to job demands, hire an elder care professional to come in and make sure your dad has some companionship. Elder care services can also help get him to and from doctor's appointments, take him grocery shopping, and help prepare meals that offer a balanced diet and can help ease feelings of anxiety.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Elsie, MI, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Lansing. Call today: 517-332-9953.