Do you have an elderly loved one in your life who regularly deals with bouts of anxiety and depression? If so, you’re not alone. It’s not at all uncommon for older adults to cope with emotional struggles. After all, there is an understanding that they are experiencing their later years in life and, in many cases, have to contend with both physical and mental limitations.
As a child of an older adult, you also take on the role of caregiver. It’s important to remember that assisting your elderly loved one with his/her physical daily routines is only part of your job. Being supportive of a senior’s emotional state is equally important.
Have a Conversation
We could discuss a myriad of methods that may help your elderly loved one deal with his/her anxiety. But there is likely no better tip to list first than having a good old conversation with your parent. After all, who better to tell you what is needed than the person who requires the help? Do your best to figure out what most bothers, annoys or brings stress to the senior in your life. Only then will you begin to understand how to help him/her cope.
“If your aging parent prefers to ask you for advice you may suggest ways to cope, to create new habits of thought and undo old ones and then patiently walk your parent through the steps necessary to make these changes,” says ComfortLife.ca, “This may go well at first. They may even thank you profusely but you may find yourself repeating the process all over again when you receive the next distress call. Read about memory loss and when you should be concerned.”
Be Calm and Gentle
It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. Remember that when dealing with a senior who suffers from anxiety and depression, he/she is already coping with a wide range of emotional issues. Your impatience and agitation won’t help. On APlaceForMom.com, Dr. Jeannette Franks recommends that you find a safe and quiet place for your older adult to sit or lie down. This is especially helpful if he/she is suffering from a panic attack.
“Help the person slow down breathing by slowly inhaling and exhaling together,” advises Dr. Franks, “Use imagery such as, ‘We are lying in the warm shade of a beautiful, tropical beach, listening to the gentle murmur of the waves’.”
Encourage Healthy Practices
We so often forget that a healthy emotional state is greatly promoted by a healthy physical state. So, it pays to assist your elderly loved one with practicing a healthy lifestyle. This involves eating nutritious foods, getting in some light exercise and making sure he/she gets enough sleep. You may also want to consult a medical professional for help.
At Forward Day, we were highly motivated to create our Shower Bay portable showers to help seniors who battle with anxiety and depression. We know that, for many of them, bathing is a chore that causes both physical and emotional stress. Because Shower Bay does away with the complications presented by bathrooms for those with mobility issues, it has encouraged older adults to bathe more regularly.
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