Question: For the second time since my dad died four years ago, my mom is dealing with fairly severe anxiety. She lives alone and is quite isolated. She would like someone (a personal support worker?) to come stay with her for a few weeks. What does your service offer that might assist her get over this period? Can you recommend people or agencies we could contact? Are there any provincial programs to help with this sort of care?
Dr. Amy: Feelings of anxiety are not unusual in your mother’s situation. When your dad died, she lost an important part of her life and a source of structure and safety. Now that your dad is gone, she may also be more aware of her own mortality. At the same time, living in an isolated area means friends and neighbours may not be close by to offer lots of support.
Privately operated homecare companies like Home Instead Senior Care can come and provide the support your mother is looking for. A caregiver can provide companionship as well as help with light housekeeping, meals and laundry. Since you are writing from Ontario, you can also call the Community Care Access Centre (www.ccac-ont.ca)to talk to them about services your mom may be eligible for.
The first step, however, should be to make an appointment with the doctor, to make sure there is no underlying condition causing her symptoms, and to talk about how to manage these episodes. There are many options besides medication. Many people have told me that meditation has helped them, for example.
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