No one likes to visit the doctor, but it can be especially difficult as we get older. As we age, doctor’s appointments are more than flu shots and general checkups. We often encounter more health problems as we get older.
It’s obvious why medical checkups are important for elderly people. Still, the real question is, how can we lessen feelings of fear and anxiety leading up to checkups as we get older? Let’s discuss coping strategies when we feel our bodies are failing us.
Mental Health Support
A wise person once said, “Don’t lament on growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.” The quote isn’t attributed to anyone in imparticular but is often cited when feelings of despair overcome those who are getting older.
As we age, we tend to confront loss much more than when we were young. Older generations tend to lose friends, loved ones, and acquaintances more often than younger generations. They might feel a sense of loss as they retire from working, as their children move and have families of their own, and again, loss when their body can’t withstand what it once could.
It is no wonder elderly people experience feelings of stress and anxiety more than in other periods of their lives. In many ways, they are in a constant state of change. There are many resources to help manage these life changes.
Even if therapy hasn’t been utilized previously through other life changes, it can still offer support, coping skills, and encouragement to elderly people as they encounter new changes. If you or your loved one dreads medical checkups, it might be time to discuss your concerns with a therapist. There are many different avenues of therapy, too. If meeting in a therapist’s office is too overwhelming, perhaps a phone or video visit is better suited for your situation. Services like Better Help might be beneficial for you.
If individual therapy doesn’t feel right for you or if you want further support from a community, support groups and group therapy might be for you. Support groups are especially helpful for those who feel lonely when it comes to their health diagnosis and want to engage with those who likely feel the same. There are also grief and bereavement support groups that are widely held and popular amongst older people who encounter death.
Home and Lifestyle Support
As elderly people face more medical challenges, they may find it difficult to live alone or without support. Daily tasks might become difficult if their mental or physical health deteriorates. Not only is it helpful to receive at-home support, but it also can increase the overall well-being of the patient. Many elderly people suffer from loneliness, and having an at-home aid can provide comfort and friendship in a transitional time. There are many caregiving options to consider.
From registered nurses to CNAs or even volunteers, there are many options when it comes to choosing an at-home caregiver. Carefully consider your support needs. Do you need a nudge to take your medications on time or a few meals prepared a day? Perhaps you are interested in more extensive, hands-on care that requires lifting, bathing, and other tasks that have become increasingly challenging.
The key to finding the right caregiver is to properly vet them by asking them pertinent questions. A few necessary caregiver interview questions to ask:
- What excites you most about caring for me or my loved one?
- What are obstacles you foresee when caring for me and my loved one?
- What are your credentials, and have you been a caregiver previously?
- Do you prefer silence as you work or do you like to talk?
Picking the right caregiver will give you peace of mind. Not only does a good caregiver meet the educational requirements of the job but also fits your needs in terms of personality and friendship.
As we age, we encounter more medical appointments and illnesses. When we receive the proper support to manage stress and anxiety amidst all the life changes, we can make better decisions. Take care of your mental health first, and find yourself a great caregiver to help support you during these big life transitions.