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Five Things Family Caregivers Should Know About Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Seniors

Senior Care in Weston MA

Elderly woman staring at windowGeneralized Anxiety Disorder (or GAD) is a mental condition that causes sufferers to experience excessive worry. With GAD, worries can be exaggerated or unrealistic given the facts of the situation. Worrying and anxiety can interfere with the sufferers daily life and make normal activities difficult to complete. While GAD may seem like a condition that daily affects younger adults, the truth is that many seniors suffer from it as well. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from GAD, here are few things you should know:

1. Worrying isn’t the Only Symptom

People with GAD tend to worry excessively, but this isn’t the only symptom. In fact, your loved one may even experience physical symptoms as well. These include insomnia, headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, being startled easily, difficulty concentrating, and sweating. If your loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms along with excessive worrying, it could mean that it is time for them to talk to a doctor.

2. GAD can be a “Silent” Condition

For many seniors, GAD can go unrecognized and untreated. Many seniors and family caregivers may not recognize when worrying has gotten out of control and therefore will not seek help. This is why it is important for family caregivers to be observant and to talk with their loved one’s frequently about their feelings, emotions, and worries.

3. Women are at a Higher Risk

When it comes to GAD, it is more likely for women to develop it than men, but it can affect men as well. It is not an uncommon condition, affecting about 4 million adults in the U.S. each year.

4. GAD is Treatable

GAD is treatable in many ways. Your loved one’s doctor may recommend mediation, counseling, or a combination of both. In addition, relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, and exercise can also be effective. Oftentimes, outside factors can trigger your loved one’s anxiety such as sleep deprivation, a lack of routine, certain foods, caffeine, etc. Identifying those triggers and eliminating them can be effective at reducing worrisome feelings.

5. There is no Test for GAD

Unlike other medical conditions, there is no test for GAD. Doctors will typically make a diagnosis based on the description of symptoms. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from GAD, be observant and write down their symptoms as you notice them, as your records can be important when it comes to determining a diagnosis.


If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Metrowest Boston, MA, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (781) 559-0073