My mom (93) has what I think are panic or anxiety attacks. What can I do?

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When she gets up in the morning , she cries and gets very short of breath. So much so that it's like she is gasping for air. Sometimes this lasts about 45 minutes. Then when I can get her to finally calm down, she is fine like nothing happened. This is driving me crazy because she does this about 4 times a day. Sometimes I feel like calling the paramedics, but then she calms down. I think she needs an anti-anxiety medication. I would like to take her to her doctor's office but she refuses to go. Says she is fine. Does anyone know of a doctor who makes house calls in the Long Island, NY area.

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
I hope you locate a doctor who makes house calls!

Perhaps calling the paramedics when she first starts one of these attacks would be a way to get her to the ER and from there, let us hope, to having an evaluation.
Your Mom is 93,  does she have a history of heart problems, lung issues, stroke, panic attacks?

We don't get to decide what these episodes are, see the E.R. doctor, no matter how old she is.
Will you be okay taking charge and doing that?

I agree with Jeanne, if she wakes up this way daily, call the paramedics ahead of time. Or, don't wait for another attack or episode-this is not normal.
Does your mom have any history of heart trouble? My mom has atrial fib and is having similar "attacks" but without the crying. She gets very short of breath and almost goes semi-comatose and eventually goes to sleep. About 30-40 minutes, she wakes up and is OK. My mom is 97 and there's nothing they can do for her at this point. I think her heart is in a-fib and she's not getting enough oxygen, which causes the shortness of breath.

Your mom could be having something similar and panicking when she can't catch her breath. But it's worth getting checked out. My mom isn't having episodes that frequently (that I know of) and forgets them an hour later. But it's very hard to watch!
I'm sorry your Mother is having trouble.Maybe it's her oxygen level and anxiety because it's scary when it's hard to breathe.I would get her to the E.R and get her checked out and in the meantime,maybe a fan on her would help.It helped my Mother with her breathing.She was on oxygen and took Ativan for anxiety.I hope you get some answers soon.Take care~
I noticed that when my mom thought she couldn't breath that if I would put her pulse oximetry device on her finger, she would calm down. First she had to pay attention to the meter and this would distract her. Distracted from her panic she would relax and look to see what the meter said. If her oxygen was low I would start doing slow steady breathing and she would do it with me and her panic would decrease and the meter would show her oxygen to be inching up. She did not have COPD but she did have CHF and sometimes the fluid would buildup and she would feel that pressure and then she would panic. Most of the time her reading would be 99. We would all pass the meter around and often find that her reading was better than ours (her children). This may have absolutely nothing to do with your moms condition but it is one more thing you can check. Temp. Blood pressure. Weight. O2. Chart it and take it with you to appointments or the ER. Then regardless of whatever medical authority you are dealing with, you are able to give them insight as to what is
"normal" for your mom. Not only do these steps calm your mom but they also calm you. If you don't have one already, you can get these meters online or at drugstores from $20 to $40. My mothers home health company gave her one. I hope you are able to sort it out. I know it must be very stressful to have her so upset so frequently.
I am the caregiver for my 92 year old Mom. MyPetunia, my mother does the same thing. she has CHF, and is on hospice. She is able to walk with my assistance to the kitchen table for her meals. She is on 4.5 liter oxygen 24/7. Her oxygen level is 99. Like you said, better than the rest of us! She huffs, puffs, and moans all the way to the table. Her hospice nurse says it is a combination of anxiety and the CHF. I read here on one of the posts that it could also be she is trying to comfort herself. Once she sits down to eat she is fine. When she gets up to go back to her recliner, she does the same thing. Not sure this helps you, but I know it made me very nervous listening to this. Once I got an explanation, I felt better, and I try to get her to concentrate on something else when this is happening. I hope you get an answer soon. Best of luck!
Top Answer
Took my mother to the Doctor today. EKG showed no changes compared to last year. Lungs are clear. Oxygen level 98. Blood pressure normal, all her blood work is normal. Physically she is fine. Her anxiety attacks are due to dementia. Put her back up to 10 mg of Lexapro. The best thing is that I found a Geriatric doctor that does house calls,
That is wonderful news! Thank you for the update!
Good job. Glad you took action.
Yes, thank you for the update! Glad to hear it worked out OK for you.

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