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Have you noticed one thing about elderly adults? They become anxious easily. Yes, elders are more prone to anxiety. A study by Beekman published in the American Journal of Psychiatry reveals that 10% of the adults aged 55-85 have elderly anxiety disorders. Most often, anxiety is also accompanied by depression in seniors. This is why senior healthcare is vital in maintaining the well-being of our elders.

Depression vs. Anxiety in seniors- what is the difference?

DEPRESSION ANXIETY
Type of illness Single illness A host of ailments like adjustment disorders,  stress disorders, panic disorders, and phobias.
Characteristics Low mood, low self-esteem, worthlessness, helplessness. Worrisome, restless, irritable.
Behaviour Restless; Withdrawal; Neglecting self-care; Isolating oneself; Not cheerful;

Lacking motivation; Unwilling to divert oneself into other activity; Lazy

Avoids eye contact;

Avoids situations and objects that cause anxiety;

Avoids taking decisions;

Easily startled by small sounds;

 

Feelings Sad; Moody; Easily irritated; Angry; Aggressive; Feeling hopeless and worthless; Crying Always tense;

Nervous and fearful;

Pessimistic;

Easily panicked

Thoughts Negative thoughts of failure and guilt; Suicidal Thoughts; Unnecessary tensions and fears Unwanted thoughts like “going crazy” or ‘can’t control”.

Negative thoughts like ” going to die”

Physiological symptoms Changes in appetite, weight and slowed activity; Lack of sleep;  Loss of memory; Agitation; Hand wringing; Pacing about the room; Palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, headaches, bowel movements, muscle aches etc.

 

Why are seniors more prone to anxiety and depression?

Research reveals that aged adults may be more prone to anxiety and depression due to

  1. Extreme stress due to physical trauma or loss of employment or a loved one
  2. Family history of mental illness
  3. Low levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.

Why anxiety and depression should be instantly recognized in senior healthcare?

Anxiety or depression is quickly recognized only in a fraction of the senior adults. This is because their activities are not keenly observed and most of their thoughts or feelings are generalized as “the result of old age”. This can prove potentially dangerous for aged adults as anxiety can lead to accidents and depression may lead to suicide attempts. This is why it is very crucial to provide elders with the closest care and attention possible on a round-the-clock basis. In today’s scenario, with both the individuals in the home working and children going to school, it is not practically possible to provide the best of senior care to aged adults. This is where assisted living facilities come in.

The role of assisted living facilities in averting anxiety and depression in seniors.

  1. Symptoms are instantly noticed

Anxiety in adults may have the physical symptoms that make it obvious, but depression often goes unrecognized in elders. This can be avoided if the elders are in a senior independent living facility . A caretaker at the assisted living facility regularly monitors the health and activities of the elder and is able to detect if he/she is suffering from depression almost instantly.

  1. Never left alone

Elders need someone to be around them most of the time and this may not be feasible even at home. But at assisted living facilities, elders are constantly in the company of fellow inmates and caregivers. Apart from attendants who offer daily care, activities are arranged for the elders to ensure that they do not feel isolated or lonely.

  1. Someone to talk to and share

Even at home, most elders are left alone and seldom have someone to talk to. But at a senior independent living facility, attendants are appointed to spend time with elders, talk to them and listen to their conversation. This gives the elders the attention and respect they need.

Assisted living facilities are ideal places for elders to inhabit and interact with their peers and friends. Provide your senior with the best of senior healthcare at the right senior independent living facility to drive away anxiety and depression.

 

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