People of all ages have fears. Some of those fears may seem ridiculous—like papyrophobia, the fear of paper, or metrophobia, the fear of poetry—but most are rooted in logical experiences.
Children, for instance, are most often diagnosed with metrophobia; logically, the fear is frequently traced to a person’s first experience with poetry. The unusual placement of punctuation and paragraph forms can lead to a lasting feelings of confusion, leading to a scare when hearing the name Henry David Thoreau.
Most people eventually overcome their childhood phobias and go on to live productive lives; however, for seniors facing a changing world many new fears can take hold. Being alone, leaving home, losing a driver’s license: These are all common fears that many people face as they age.
As a family caregiver, it’s important to remember that you can help ease these fears by striving to understand them. Calmly sit down with your loved one and get curious. Ask them about their concerns and see what you can do to help. Reassure them. Remember, fears are rooted in logic and logic always has an answer. Companionship can bring cheer to people of all ages, home holds happy memories and safety, and driving is a freedom enjoyed for decades.
A compassionate heart and an understanding ear can go a long way to anyone, especially seniors who have been around long enough to appreciate them.
As Thoreau himself said, “The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.”
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