Though residents of Arcadia and elsewhere are encouraged to enjoy everything about their Golden Years, there are some moments which are certainly more challenging than others.
Whether someone is living completely independent or receiving 24-hour care, there are occasions which are fun and other times that aren’t much fun at all.
Since the staff at Accredited Home Care has been working with clients in Southern California for so many years, we know that it’s easy to for people to feel worn out, overwhelmed and anxious. Your body gets more tired than it used to, friends and family may not be around as much and you may have lost some loved ones recently.
There are also new things to worry about, including new or different income, different types of budgeting, and worrying more about your physical and mental health than you have in the past. Even fears of growing dementia in the next few years can cause concerns today.
Increased concerns and anxieties also often can be paths to depression, a health condition that can make people feel even worse about their lives. Depression can decrease your immune system and increase the odds of getting sick and staying sick longer. It can sap your motivation to go out and exercise, which can further make someone feel weak and helpless. It can even cause physical pain in some cases. It can make you not want to eat, sleep or be social, which all could have negative impacts.
That’s why we encourage clients and others in their age range to always be looking for ways to reduce the risk of depression or anxiety. Sometimes it can be new routines and habits like going outside, finding a social group to join or finding ways to exercise more.
In other cases, there are various tools and devices which can assist.
Besides causing sorts of mental stress, anxiety can have physical components as well. Chronic worrying can speed up metabolism because the brain may think it’s being threatened, so conditions like high blood pressure or sweating all can be signs.
It’s also been observed that people feeling anxious are likely to have active hands. This could take the form of simply wringing them to scratching to twirling fingertips.
Often, these nervous actions are generally harmless, although they can be a little distracting. But for some people with dementia or other impairments, it might be hard for them to stop digging or scratching. This behavior can even break the skin.
Some people prone to busy hands when they’re nervous or anxious turn to crafts such as quilting, cross-stitch, crocheting or knitting. You can engage your brain and let your hands buzz away, and then make some gifts for your home or family.
Another related item is Twiddlemuffs, which are sleeves/wrist guards designed especially for people with dementia. Each one has a variety of buttons, snaps links and other items that could be fun to fidget with, either consciously or unconsciously.
They can be found online and also easy to make for someone with basic sewing/knitting skills. They also can be worn like a sleeve or attached to clothing so they’ll be difficult to lose.
Whether or not we consider ourselves ‘huggers,’ admittedly there’s something soothing about being wrapped up in something – maybe it’s a comfy sweatshirt or a quilt on the couch, or maybe it’s the special feeling of staying under the covers in a nice soft bed.
This can be enjoyable on especially cold days, or when you simply don’t want to get out and deal with anything or anyone in the world. People with anxiety know this feeling well, and it’s OK! Though you eventually should get up to use the bathroom or get some food or drink, and your family may miss you, it often can be soothing to stay wrapped up.
One tool to make this sensation is a weighted blanket. Originally a tool used in hospitals to help people with sensory overload, they are now becoming popular in the mass market – and also recommended for people with anxiety.
They weigh heavier than a regular blanket but aren’t necessarily extra warm, and people describe the feeling as an all-over hug, perhaps a cocooning, that makes them feel secure and reduce some of the outside stimuli.
Some even call them the grown-up version of a kids’ security blanket – something that you bring along to help you feel more calm about your world and sleep better.
Though they’re called the Golden Years, this time of life often requires extra effort to keep things shining. That’s why it’s important to always be looking for ways to improve or at least keep your quality of life or that of a loved one.
This can include having regular conversations with family members about what, if anything, is making them anxious and if anything can be done about it. Even if they may initially say no, it will still give you an idea of what might be bothering them, and perhaps you can look for possible solutions yourself.
The team at Accredited Home Care is happy to work with clients and their loved ones to help them find ways to be less anxious.