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My mom, 89 years old, in an Independent Living Facility, has congestive heart failure and labile high bloood pressure. We moved her to ILF about a year ago after multiple anxiety attacks over fairly minor events; but she continues to become amazingly anxious over minor incidents. Wondering if anyone has experience with this; she is on Klonopin (low dose) during the day and at night.

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I feel like I should respond as I am a cronic worrier ( OCD) and have panic attacks. I take Paxil and klonapan. It helps. -a lot actually. I forget that when I am on it for a while. I will think I can go off of it but when I try after a painfully slow withdrawal I start to worry obsessively again.--after a few months. It is a biological problem for me. I have been this way for as long as I can remember. And I inherited it from my Mom. And her Mom.
The best advice I can give you for obsessive worriers that are draining you ( oh, I know how hard we can be-my daughter has OCD worries -part syndrome part me) is see if you can schedule time with her to worry, I have mentioned this before. -sorry if i am a repeat answerer! - I do not know if it would work for elders who do not have time concept anymore but if they do try and schedule a set time for worries. Like after breakfast for 15minutes and before dinner for 15minutes. Tell Mom what you are planning. Tell her she can tell you all about her worries then. But once the "session" is over it is over until the next one and if Mom wants to bring up a worry before the next one tell her she has to wait. Maybe start with 30 minutes. Then try and make the sessions smaller-to just 15 minutes eventually. This helps you from having to hear about it constantly. And it may help Mom train her brain a little. Get some self control over her worries. Also when you do sit with her and have a session be sure to really listen to her and repeat what she's worrying about. I so often fear that my worry is not being understood. Like -I cannot explain it well enough so how can it be addressed correctly? So if Mom is saying she is worried she has Murcomycosis say " I know , Mom, you a worried you have Murcomycosis like Dad had. I understand you are scared about it not being MRSA. ". And then let her continue. And repeat her next worry. This helps my daughter as well as me. And sit facing her and maybe holding her hand. gentle touches are so soothing. For me. Some people when anxious do not like to be touched. So don't force it . (weird fact for you-the top of the head -right on the crown-is a circle of nerves that when stimulated -like gentle scratching or rubbing- produces endorphins- no kidding! So maybe brush Mom's hair once a day for awhile )

My own daughter gets worries in her head and I can have her talk them away. But she has a developmental disability so we march to a different drummer. But she will be worrying about , say, the Christmas tree from the nutcracker that grows super huge (true story-we were watching the Nutcracker -a live performance on TV because she was supposed to go with her dance class the next day to see it -and the Christmas tree all of a sudden gets super big and she got so scared that she literally threw up and crapped her pants!-she was 14)!she HATES things that get bigger unnaturally. Like Honey I blew up the kid and well, you would not believe how many things on tv and in movies get bigger. After I cleaned her up she just would not stop worrying about that darn tree ( and ,no, she did NOT go to the performance the next day!) I even held a small Christmas tree decoration I had half way up the back of our kitchen table and showed her how it looked smaller when I help half of it under the table and bigger if I pushed it up. Still worried. "what happened to the tree?"over and over and then"am I going to get bigger." well, yeah, but not like the tree. I told her it was pretend , it was not real. Still worrying. Finally I "yelled"at the TV-"you silly old tree!!! You are not even real but pretend stop scaring Sophie!!!!" that did the trick. She says that now with worries. Stop worrying me , you, silly old --gopher ( this scary puppet ) . And I will say -"if you do not stop bothering my girl I will spank your butt!!" and she laughs and laughs. I don't know why this works. But it does. I doubt it will work with your Moms but it does show how irrational obsessive thinking can be. You may be able to find your own phrase that helps.

We also practice good breathing. This might help -say "smell the flower blow out the candle." It forces good breaths( in the nose out the open mouth). We do it five times.

I also meditate with her. This is a trick I learned in drama class when I was young. She has a big soft down blanket and I call it her cloud blanket and she lies with that. I then rub her back and tell her to feel her toes get heavier and heavier and sink into the cloud. Then her feet get heavier and heavier and sink into the cloud. Then her legs and her tummy and her arms- and so on. Each facial feature gets its own mention. Head is last and then the cloud rocks her back and forth back and forth. And sometimes it takes her over the trees and over the houses and she is safe and so soft and so tired. I don't know why she doesn't get scared about her body sinking into a cloud but she doesn't. She loves this. I use a very, very gentle sing songy voice and go slow. It really helps her. She will ask for it-"do the cloud"she says. My one behavioral therapist had me do my own version and he taped it for me to listen to but he was kinda of a goof ball and his voice did not sooth me!! I bet there are some good meditation CDs on the market if you are not comfortable doing it yourself. It is easier as a Mommy, I think, than a daughter to her elderly parent.

So-that is some of my experience with worry and OCD. I don't know if it will help but I have lots of experience with it!!! My creepy behavioral therapist said I worry so much and have such horrible thoughts that they should figure out a way to make criminals live in my brain as a punishment. I had no idea how to respond to that. Weirdo. He also had me wear a rubber band that I was to snap as hard as I could when I had a worry. I do not think that would be a very good idea for an elderly woman!!!!! But the things one will try when desperate. It didn't work.

Good luck and God bless. I know it is hard to listen to us worriers. I worry about that! ( j/k)
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my mother is on Klonopin. Xanax did not work for her; I'm told that Klonopin is a better drug for elders. My mom has a MRSA infection (we haven't told that that's what it is) but she's decided that what she has must be Murcormycosis ( a rather rare fungal infection of the sinus); my dad had it when he had leukemia. But we (I) got him into a clinical trial and they cured it. I guess it hurts me on some level that she doesn't think I would do the same for her, ie, move heaven and earth to find the right doc/medicine for her. Thanks for listening all! I know that the problems I have are, first of all, First World problems, and secondly, very minor compared to what some of you are going through, but sometimes, we all need to vent. B
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My mother is doing the same thing. Anything will set her off and some of it is seeming non-existent to us. TEMP of the room, wrong caregiver, something as simple as a comment or a crooked picture on the wall.. She is on xanex.
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Rather funny, I was about to ask this question again, then did a search on the site a found my own question! My mom's constant, incessant anxiety is going to mske me nuts! Happy Mother's Day to all!
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We have much experience with it here. My mother has generalized anxiety disorder. If she doesn't have something to worry about, she will create it. :) She worries constantly. She has been on some type of benzodiazepine for years. She takes lorazepam now. I've never found any effective way to deal with her anxiety except to remain calm myself. Personally I have had a couple of severe bouts of panic disorder, but I am usually okay. It must be a family history thing.
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