Though they can happen to people of any age, when seniors have panic attacks, they can be even scarier. Seniors are already acclimating to changes in their bodies and thoughts, and not feeling like they have control is only amplified when panic attacks strike. The good news is that loved ones and companion care at home aides can help help keep seniors calm during a panic attack with a few simple steps.
Understanding Panic Attacks in Older People
When someone has a panic attack, they feel an intense amount of sudden fear and worry, in addition to possible physical or emotional symptoms. These episodes can be especially upsetting for seniors, who may already be dealing with a lot of stress. This is particularly true if they’ve never had a panic attack before. It’s important for loved ones, and the companion care at home team to remain calm in order to help seniors be calm, and that starts with knowing the signs. If seniors voice any of these concerns, they might be having a panic attack.
- Racing heartbeat
- Struggling to breathe
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Sweating and shaking
- Pain in the chest
- Thoughts of impending doom
- Feeling sick
While not all of these signs will fit each senior or even each panic attack, they are the stepping stones to beginning to understand what might be occurring.
Tips For Keeping Seniors Calm
The first thing to do is to teach seniors about panic attacks. Being able to explain what’s going on can make panic attacks less scary. Taking the time to explain what a panic attack is and how it feels will also help them feel better. Seniors can feel more in charge when they know more about the subject.
Additionally, teaching seniors how to take slow, deep breaths can help them control their heart rate and feel less stressed. Show them how to breathe slowly and deeply in through their noses and out through their mouths. This is a crucial skill whether or not panic attacks are a concern.
It’s also important to offer mental support during a panic attack. Be there for them, hold their hand, and speak slowly and evenly. They may not be able to respond, but feeling you supporting them can go a long way. In addition, it’s important to ensure seniors have a safe and calm space after a panic attack, as they can be quite exhausting.
Perhaps the most important thing is to show seniors how to ground themselves. Help them pay attention to what’s right in front of them by having them name five things they can see, four things they can touch, three things they can hear, two things they can smell, and one thing they can taste. This can help take their minds off of the fear.
Some seniors may be on medications for anxiety or panic attacks, but it’s very important that they don’t self-medicate. Instead, encourage them to talk to their medical team about the panic attacks and follow the advice they’re given.
It takes patience and understanding to help seniors stay calm during a panic attack. However, with strong companion care at home and loved ones, seniors can learn to understand what is happening and take steps to help them remain calm.
If you are considering companion care at home in Memorial, TX for an aging loved one, please call the caring staff at At Your Side Home Care. We will answer all of your senior care questions. Call today: (832) 271-1600.
At Your Side Home Care, provides exceptional home care for seniors and families in Houston, West Houston, Katy, Memorial, The Heights, Spring Valley, Garden Oaks, Hunters Creek, River Oaks, Hilshire Village, Galleria, Cinco Ranch, Spring Branch, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosenburg, Piney Point, Bay City and surrounding areas.
- Tips For Helping Seniors Stay Calm During a Panic Attack - October 20, 2023