It’s estimated that upwards of 20% of older adults suffer from anxiety. It’s a very common mental health issue and doesn’t have to be something your parents deal with without any help. There are medications that help ease anxiety. There are also holistic or therapeutic measures for managing stress and anxiety. Meditation is one of them.
What is Meditation?
Different meditation techniques help ease anxiety. They fall into two categories: guided and unguided. Guided is completed under the supervision of a specialist. Unguided is more likely to be the type of meditation your parent follows. The purpose of meditation is to refocus attention from the anxiety and onto a more calm frame of mind.
Your parent will find two meditation techniques to be easy to do and very helpful at easing anxiety. One is called “Body Scan” and the other is “Focused Attention.”
Body scan is done by laying down and tensing each set of muscles in the body. Start with the toes and feet. Tense those muscles, relax them fully, repeat, and pay attention to how the tension feels. Move to the ankles and calves, knees and thighs, buttocks and abs, shoulders and neck, arms and fingers, and finally the face. Make sure there’s always the attention paid to how it feels when tense and how it feels to be completely relaxed. Keep counting each breath for the count of five until you’ve reached 60 breaths.
There are other forms of meditation including “visualization,” where you imagine being in a favorite location. You might be on a sunny beach with the tide coming in or a cool forest with the scent of pine filling the air. “Loving kindness” has you focus on an image of a person you love and focusing on the feelings of love and happiness that the person brings.
Narrow Down Anxiety Triggers
Explore some of the triggering factors for your mom or dad’s anxiety. Some of the common factors that increase the risk of anxiety are the family history, a neurodegenerative disorder like dementia, death of a loved one, or fears of aging.
If your mom starts to get anxious when she’s been alone for days at a time, companionship is one way to help ease that anxiety. If your dad’s anxiety is triggered when he drives, he could have a caregiver drive him.
Meditation will help ease stress, which can help ease anxiety, but it’s also important to make sure your parents are supported by having help around the home. Easing loneliness and isolation is an effective way to make sure your parent stays on the right path to overcoming excessive stress and anxiety. Call a home care agency to make arrangements.
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