5 Activities That Can Reduce Elderly Anxiety
Anxiety is a common mental health issue that 10%-20% of seniors deal with on a daily basis. It’s normal that once you reach the age of 60, body functions slow down or some people think about mortality more often – and ever since the 2020 pandemic hit, anxiety is more prominent than before. Fearful thoughts and worried minds are normal, and so is talking about it! Whatever the trigger of anxiety for you or your loved one may be, there are different options for coping so that each individual can find the thing that works best for them.
Always consult with your doctor or caregiver before making any adjustments or changes to your daily routine.
5 Activities That Can Reduce Elderly Anxiety:
- Games/Puzzles – For someone who’s retired, or has extra time on their hands, having a sense of purpose can distract them from anxious thoughts. A game gives an immediate purpose with a quick solution. For board games, consider Yahtzee, Chess, Bingo, and more. There are also puzzles with bigger pieces, which can be ideal for those with limited dexterity or vision impairment. Completing games can give instant gratification and a sense of accomplishment – which, believe me, puzzles aren’t easy!
- Calming Exercise – Physical activity, big or small, increases the endorphins throughout the brain and nervous system. It’s been scientifically proven that the release of this natural chemical relieves stress and pain throughout the body. Here are a few examples on how elderly people stay active, make sure you consult with your doctor regarding what activities or exercises are safe for you:
- Daily Walks Outside
- Breathing Exercises
- Water Aerobics
- Chair Yoga
- Take a Trip Down Memory Lane – It is fun to tell stories about your life – funny moments, memories with loved ones, or perhaps a life changing experience. There are some people who don’t want to talk about old memories, so proper consent is always important. In either case, the simplest of questions can help bring joy: What’s their favorite animal? Do they have a favorite food? There are also questionnaires online about how to get to know someone better – these can easily spark up conversations while helping reduce anxiety.
- Entertainment – Music is said to release dopamine to the brain, which is a naturally occurring happy chemical. There are great classics out there, whether it be older music or movies. Revisiting the wonderful creations of their times can spark a lot of joy and bring back happy memories.
- Be an Open Ear – People with anxiety tend to talk a lot about it (often, repetitively). Sometimes, just being there to listen and acknowledge their thoughts can help them feel calm. Advice for those struggling with anxiety is not always recommended, so always ask if someone wants advice before giving any.
The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. If you are having a severe and sudden change in physical or mental health, please call 911, contact a local emergency facility or consult with your doctor. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider, and never disregard the advice given because of information you have received from our website.