My Father has extreme anxiety about his health and is afraid of dying. He has COPD, lives alone, still drives, cooks but mostly watches TV. He goes to Dr. frequently because he is always worried. 2 of his friends recently died which made the situation worse. He refuses to go to an independent/assisted living place because he doesn’t want to spend the money. Any suggestions on how to ease anxiety? He doesn’t like his preacher and I’m not sure he would go to counseling.

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Now it is time for YOU to become the parent and the boss. Talk to him gently that every human is afraid of dying and it is normal. Can the doctor prescribe something to calm him down a bit? He is feeling the loss of his friends and does not want to change what he still has. If he has the means for his care, try to get a Power of Attorney and then look into a suitable place for him where he can get care and hopefully make some new friends. It can be done. And if he won't go to counseling, is there anyone "valid" who would come to the home and visit him and talk with him? If he is not willing to cooperate, and there is nothing you can do, then he has to suffer because you can't fix it and it is not your fault and you should have no guilt.
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Reply to Riley2166

I found comfort in listening to podcasts or YouTube videos from Near Death Experiencer's. Here is one link from Tricia Barker interviewing Jeff Olsen.
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Reply to ptreyesbunny

Get him Life Alert. Also, reassure him about what's waiting for him when he dies - his parents, wife, peace, healing. People are afraid of the unknown! Tell him you will be fine and will take care of the things that are important to him. A bit of anti-anxiety med might be helpful, as well.
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Reply to katiekat2009

Speak with his physician. When this happened with my DH, I made the decision to allow him to be put on Zoloft and it really helped stop his anxiety.
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Reply to RayLinStephens

I’m sure I will have anxiety when Im 87 (if I’m lucky enough to live that long).

It must be terrifying to lose multiple peers.

Why dont you see if you can find him a resource to meet new friends his age.

Maybe there are programs or activities that would interest him in your community or church.

Do do you have any friends with parents that he could meet occasionally?

Help him develop new social outlets.
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Reply to ACaringDaughter

Medication along with a geriatric psyc eval or equivalent sounds like a good way to go. The other things you/he could try are first getting more exercise, being sedentary could be contributing to his body not managing anxiety, especially if was an active person his body may not know how to handle physiological surges it has always had without exercise. The other thing to make sure he's doing is hydrating well enough and of course eating right. Scent can also help, there are a variety of scent's either from herbs or essential oils (pure not the perfume or soap versions) diffused into the room or applied to skin or placed on clothing/bedding can have a much greater affect especially on anxiety than you expect. It's even been studied and proven in hospitals. Then there is deep breathing if he can do it or convinced to try, deep slow "cleansing" breaths can help calm a person but if they haven't been exposed to it in their lifetimes that may be hard to introduce and hard to do with COPD. Pick up a good quality Lavender essential oil and wear it around him or put it on his sheets/pillow, on the couch maybe and see if that helps at all. Don't tell him about it at first and then if it seems right tell him about it, the knowledge could help or hurt depending. Anxiety is so difficult to both go through and watch a LO go through I hope you find the thing or things that help.

COPD in itself can be anxiety producing, depending on how difficult his breathing is or how often he has "attacks" air hunger terrifying both to the mind and the body, it can become a vicious cycle pretty quickly if you can't calm down. I'm so sorry you are both going through this.
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Reply to Lymie61

Yes, as BarbBrooklyn said, there are meds for anxiety and depression. And a psychiatrist is the right way to go.

I understand. My mother, 91, is off the charts for anxiety. But, she is very low tolerance for meds, and a fall risk, and has COPD. So, there's only so much we can do as far as meds.

Tip: For depression, it's very tricky. There is no great testing to figure out which of the major neurotransmitters need to be treated. So, most likely, the doctor will just assume it's serotonin; maybe prescribe Zoloft.. Which may not be the right neurotransmitter to try to treat. Also, with elderly patients, they prescribe low dosages and the meds take up to 3-4 weeks to have any effect.

For anxiety, there are many meds that can help.

Tip: Important to know your father's usual schedule, day and night, so you can tell the doctor when his anxiety is at its worst, when your father leaves his house, when your father drives, when your father sleeps, etc.

Also, is your father generally a low tolerance or a high tolerance person with respect to meds?

Ideally...and that's hard to can end up finding the right anti-anxiety med, to be taken at the right times of day and night, so that the meds do not add a fall risk or daytime drowsiness or driving risk or depressed respiratory (since your father has COPD).

Please let us know what happens after taking your father to a psychiatrist.

Yes, I am assuming that you will do that!
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Reply to Daughter1954

Sounds like my 81 year old mother in law, who doesn’t drive. Her Anxiety started when her husband went into hospice. Her anxiety made the COPD flare up & it wasn’t good. AT ALL! What helped her was Xanax, she’s tiny & is on the very lowest dose. It’s been a miracle drug for her. No side effects. Zoloft landed her in the hospital twice for critically low sodium. Numerous other drugs just left her sleepy, it was really a trial & error search! If you do go the medication route, please watch carefully for side effects.
(My mother-in-law’s primary care Dr. is taking her off the Xanax because she doesn’t like the drug at all, period. It had been prescribed by the heart doctor. <sigh>

Best set of luck in a search for something that works!
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Reply to mollymoose
Daughter1954 May 15, 2019
Great response.

Xanax is a quick acting med, and lasts maybe 4 hours. At low dosages. And it's the "go-to" anti-anxiety med from many doctors. It's really best for "as needed" when you can feel an anxiety attack coming. Or know that you are walking into a situation that will cause anxiety. It works, short-term. It is not the best treatment for chronic day and night generalized anxiety.

And, also, totally on point comment about the Zoloft. I think I was writing my first comment at the same time you were writing yours.
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There are needs for anxiety and depression. They work. Has he been seen by a geriatric psychiatrist?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
Mds1954 May 16, 2019
Thanks for responding. He currently is on 50 mg of Trazadone which is used off label for sleep aid and anxiety. He used to take Xanax to help him get to sleep but I took him to a Geriatric specialist who said to wean him off Xanax because he had become addicted to it. I’m trying to get his Dr to suggest a Geriatric Psychiatrist. He won’t listen to me.

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