What You Can Do About Aging and Anxiety

August 23, 2018

Anxiety doesn’t discriminate against any age group.

At one time, anxiety was thought to be declining in older adults, but it turns out the opposite is true.

The disparity came as a result of seniors being more likely to talk about their physical ailments with their doctors, rather than their anxiety issues.

Though aging and anxiety can go hand-in-hand, understanding the unique ways it affects you as you get older – and where it comes from – goes a long way in improving your quality of life.

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Sources of anxiety for seniors

There are some anxiety-inducing situations that are specific to older people.

1. The loss of independence

As you age, you may not be able to live alone any longer. You might also lose the ability to drive.

The loss of autonomy over your own life can make you feel trapped and even like you’ve lost a sense of purpose.

It becomes commonplace to worry constantly.

2. Mental decline

Cognitive diseases such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s and memory loss can cause you to feel confused, which leads to anxiety.

It’s frustrating to not be able to remember things or not understand situations.

For example, a change in a normal routine or schedule can create panic.

3. Loneliness

You may find you’re worrying more about being alone.

This could be the result of a cognitive illness that causes you to not be able to remember your visitors or that your loved ones will be coming back. Perhaps you worry about being alone because your spouse has died or you don’t have a good family support system.

4. Injury or illness

Maybe it’s a fall that results in a broken hip, or it could be an illness.

Whatever it is, the fear of not surviving or of becoming incapacitated can cause you an enormous amount of worry.

You may have anxiety about falling or getting sick again, which can hinder your recovery process.

Fighting senior anxiety

There are real-world ways you can combat the worry that comes with aging.

  • Keep moving. Not only does activity stave off heart disease and osteoporosis, but regular exercise is also wonderful for the brain. The endorphin rush boosts your mood and fights anxiety. Consider activities like walks outside, yoga, water aerobics or even lifting low-impact weights.
  • Stay social. If your anxiety stems from the fear of being alone, proactively seek out connections. Set a weekly date with a friend or family member, join a club or take a class.
  • Consider social media. Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with old friends or far-away family.
  • Stick to a schedule. Structure can be reassuring. Knowing what to expect is calming and prevents the anxiety that comes from not knowing what’s happening next.

You can manage aging and anxiety

Understanding the relationship between aging and anxiety can help you control your worrying.

Combat senior anxiety by getting enough exercise, keeping up with friends and family and making a schedule of activities.

Another key to managing anxiety is to make sure you’re getting the right medical care.

If your Marketplace coverage isn’t providing for your health care needs, talk to an independent insurance expert who can help you find the best policy for your unique situation.

Is your Marketplace coverage lacking in crucial coverage, such as mental health services?