Home Caregivers Should Watch For Anxiety And Depression In Seniors

This includes panic attacks, constant worry, various phobias and unreasonable fears. According to a recent study, seniors are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders than depression. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 2 million American seniors over the age of 65 have full-blown cases of depression. While they are not as likely to have depression as younger people, it is important for family members and home caregivers to watch for signs and symptoms. If they are concerned that the person may be depressed or have an anxiety disorder, the senior’s doctor or regular healthcare professional should be consulted or notified.

Warning signs can be difficult to recognize, especially since seniors tend to have more medical conditions and take more medications that affect mood and physical symptoms or mask certain types of behavior. The symptoms of depression and anxiety can often be confused with each other. They are also mistaken for symptoms and warning signals of other illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, stroke, thyroid problems or heart disease. It may be more difficult for friends and loved ones who are not medically trained to recognize the symptoms. If they are suspected, it may be a good idea to ask the senior how they are feeling and suggest a trip to the doctor’s office or bring it to the attention of home eldercare medical providers.

Some of the warning signs of an anxiety disorder include agitation, fatigue, poor memory, excessive fear or overwhelming concern for certain things. Some physical symptoms are upset stomach, dry mouth, trembling, difficulty sleeping and dramatic startle reactions. Warning signs may also be seen in a fear or concern over leaving the house, going shopping, visiting the doctor’s office or extreme concern at meeting new people. Studies show that seniors who have anxiety disorders were likely to have them in childhood.

Common symptoms of depression include irritability, irresponsible behavior, memory loss, trouble sleeping at night or falling asleep during the day, appetite loss, fatigue and difficulty concentrating. Causes of depression may include chronic illness, long-term pain, loss of a loved one, changes in living accommodations or undergoing surgery.

Both anxiety and depression can be treated with medication once they are diagnosed. Cognitive behavioral therapy is also an effective means of controlling the disorders. Family and home healthcare professionals can help by alleviating fears, improving safety and reducing stress when possible. {pixabay|100|campaign}