Millions of Americans live with an anxiety disorder. The general public increasingly understands that mental health is just as important as physical health, and medical professionals can treat mental health issues just like physical health problems. Senior citizens can be at risk of developing anxiety, even if they have not had these issues before. For those who care for seniors, it can be advantageous to learn more about recognizing anxiety in seniors and the importance of mental health in the senior population. While looking at health services in Dallas for seniors, knowing the role of caregivers in the process of senior mental health can empower you to make appropriate decisions about care.
Recognizing Symptoms of Anxiety in Seniors
Regular or situational anxiety is a common reaction to stressful situations where individuals may experience physical symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating, or an upset stomach. This type of anxiety is typically short-lived and does not interfere with daily activities. On the other hand, diagnosable anxiety disorders involve more intense symptoms that can be debilitating and last for extended periods. In seniors, this type of anxiety disorder may manifest differently than in younger people. It may be triggered by underlying medical conditions or changes in lifestyle that are common to aging. Diagnosable anxiety disorders can have severe consequences for physical and mental health if left untreated, so it is important to monitor signs of distress in seniors and take steps to seek proper diagnosis and treatment if necessary.
Not all anxiety symptoms are obvious or related to stress, so it can help to familiarize yourself with them. Some of the signs of anxiety in seniors are:
- Changes in weight or eating habits
- Problems with sleeping, whether too much or not enough
- Getting dizzy or feeling lightheaded
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Avoiding situations, people, and tasks that cause anxiety
- Not wanting to leave the home
- Feelings of confusion or irritability
- Ideas or thoughts that don’t make sense
- Stomach pain or problems with digestion
Often, seniors experiencing anxiety may not realize they need help. Anxiety can be just as damaging to health as a physical condition, so it is imperative to learn how to tell if you or someone you care about could be dealing with anxiety.
About Taking Care of Senior Mental Health
For seniors, much of the focus is on physical health. However, good mental health is also critical. Seniors with certain health conditions—such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and thyroid disease—can be at higher risk for developing anxiety. Also, taking certain medications can put a senior at elevated risk for anxiety. Seniors struggling with anxiety can be treated, and their symptoms can improve.
Many seniors can develop anxiety due to stressful life circumstances, such as losing a loved one or moving due to ill health. Even though these events are unavoidable, ensuring your senior loved one is mentally healthy can help them heal and adjust. Also, many older folks may feel that there is a stigma associated with mental illness, but thankfully, this is no longer the case. People with mental health conditions are treated with medicine and counseling, but most importantly, they are treated with respect.
Especially in a senior community, caregivers and staff must be on the lookout for mental health conditions in their member communities. Part of the role of senior health services is to care for the daily needs of their members. Still, another aspect of their duties relates to creating a safe, home-like environment where members feel comfortable expressing their feelings openly.
Find Senior Living and Care in Dallas, Texas, at Ventana
Our members are our greatest asset at our luxury community for seniors in Dallas, Texas. Ventana offers care at every level, from independent seniors to those who require round-the-clock nursing care. If you or someone you love has been thinking about making a move to a senior community that is vibrant and comfortable, contact Ventana today at 214.225.6197.