Seniors have a hard time coping when their daily needs aren’t fulfilled causing their anxiety levels to rise. As people age it becomes increasingly difficult to dress, bathe, and prepare meals on their own. If the necessary help isn’t provided seniors can experience high levels of distress.
What Happens when Senior’s Needs Aren’t Met
A lack of attention to senior needs can lead to adverse consequences, such as wearing soiled clothes or going hungry. A new study at the University of Michigan followed the behavior of older adults, when no one adequately handled their needs, leading to elevated anxiety symptoms. This created a vicious cycle that may lower the quality of life in older adults.
How Can the Needs be Met
As seniors age they need more help with certain tasks. This increases the need for mental health services and community-based long-term services that aid in the support of our aging population. The high number of older adults with disabilities and who are at risk of having unmet needs makes this an important public health issue.
Doctors and other health care providers that work with older adults should consider screening for anxiety and other mental health problems. Also, these professionals should be factoring in the patients’ mental health status when creating a plan for long-term services and support. Programs that better support family caregivers may have added benefit of reducing anxiety symptoms among older adults.
Shame can Cause Needs to Go Unmet
Adverse consequences due to unmet needs may be under reported because of feelings of shame and embarrassment, especially in a society that values self-sufficiency. Senior’s should be made to feel that it’s okay to receive an extra hand. It’s a normal part of aging and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
How to Ease the Anxiety
If a senior’s needs are met and they are still battling with anxiety take these steps:
Seniors commonly experience feelings of loneliness and isolation because of limitations in their mobility, causing their social circle to diminish. A sense of isolation can lead to anxiety, so one of the most important things you can do is making sure they have a network of social support in place.
Companionship can be incredibly useful in reducing anxiety. It can be a source of great relief to know that someone is there to listen, to check up on anything concerning, and to provide pleasant socialization throughout the day.
Make Routine a Priority
Routines are also beneficial for seniors who have anxious thoughts. Routines provide a predictable daily schedule, and this predictability can be calming. Routines can also provide purpose: if your senior loved one knows they’ll be going to the senior center each Thursday to play cards, it will provide them with something to look forward to, and they’ll have an outing and an opportunity for socialization.
Anxiety can affect anyone, and it doesn’t always have an obvious cause. Regardless of whether your senior loved one is suffering from a lack of support or dealing with anxiety symptoms for any other reason, it’s essential to help them cope with and manage these feelings. Seniors may feel alarmed, confused, or even ashamed of their anxiety, but with family support, daily practices that ease panic, and consultations with medical professionals, your loved one can find relief.
Entrust of DeSoto: A Resident-centric Memory Care Community in Dallas, Texas
Entrust of DeSoto is a memory care community that puts resident well-being at the center of everything we do. We know that each person is unique. That’s why we offer a wide range of services and lifestyle options to nourish the body and create community.
We understand the importance of home cooked meals and nutrition for seniors and this attitude is reflected in our dining experience. If you or a loved one live near Dallas, Texas and need assisted living, contact Entrust of DeSoto today to learn about our 24-hour care and find out how we can help.