Anxiety in Older Adults

Course Learning Outcomes

As a result of participating in this learning activity the learner will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an increase in knowledge of and screening for anxiety in older adults as evidenced by passing the final exam with a score of 80% or greater at the end of the on-line learning activity.

Anxiety disorders in older adults are often missed or misdiagnosed even though they are more prevalent than dementia and major depressive. Ongoing anxiety can decrease the quality of life of older adults as well as impact the morbidity and mortality of those affected.

Recognizing an anxiety disorder in an elderly person poses challenges due to the physical and mental changes in aging that can mask or impede its discovery. This class is designed to increase your knowledge of anxiety, its signs and symptoms as well as methods to address and treat anxiety and anxiety disorders in your client. Timely detection and implementation of appropriate, evidence-based treatment options can have a positive impact on the older adults quality of life, helping them cope more effectively or overcome their anxiety.

This is a self-paced course with optional knowledge check quizzes after each lesson. These non-graded quizzes allow you to check your understanding of the lesson objectives before proceeding to the next lesson. After the final lesson you will be required to take the final exam. You must score 80% or higher to pass the course and complete the evaluation in order to obtain a certificate of completion.

  • Explain the impact of anxiety and anxiety disorders as a disease
  • Describe the incidence, symptoms and effects of anxiety in the older adult
  • Identify pre-disposing factors for anxiety in the older adult
  • Describe evidence based anxiety assessment tools and methods
  • Outline treatment methods to cope with or eliminate anxiety
Contact Time

1 Contact Hour: based on 60 minute

Estimated Time

The estimated time for completion for this activity is 1 hour(s).

Intended Audience

This course is designed to meet the continuing education requirements of Registered Nurses. It may also meet the continuing education requirements of healthcare professionals such as Licensed Practical Nurses, Physical Therapists, Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Social Workers.

Course Planning Team

Kathy L. Richie, RN, BSN; Beth Schoenfeld, RN, MSN, CCP

Course Expiration Date

As required by ANCC, this course will be reviewed and updated or discontinued on or before May 22, 2023

HLC - Higher Learning Commission
Rochester Community and Technical College is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
HLC Institution ID:1399
NCPD - Nursing Continuing Professional Development
Rochester Community & Technical College is approved with distinction as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the Wisconsin Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.
Provider Approval Number: WICEAP-0149-007
Disclosure Statements:

Commercial Support: This course was developed in accordance with ANCC Commercial Support Guidelines. No commercial support was accepted for the development of this course.

Mitigation of Relevant Financial Relationships: No planners or faculty have any financial relationships (with companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients) that are relevant to the content of this educational activity.

Author Originating

Beth Schoenfeld - RN MSN CCP

Beth is a Registered Nurse, with a Masters in Nursing with a clinical focus in Gerontology from the University of Evansville in Indiana. The majority of Beth's nursing career has been in home health care, working in both education and administration. Beth is also certified as a Chronic Disease Professional Health Coach (CCP) and has developed this program.

Tom Davis - PhD MS LMFT

Tom is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 25 years private practice in Counseling and Psychotherapy. He has taught classes, workshops and seminars on aging, grief and human development for over 30 years and coordinated graduate programs in counseling psychology for the University of San Francisco. He has a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology and Ph.D. in Sociology. Tom currently teaches Psychology and Sociology at Rochester Community and Technical College in Rochester, MN.

Mental Health America. Anxiety in Older Adults. https://www.mhanational.org/anxiety-older-adults
Mental Health America. Depression in Older Adults. https://www.mhanational.org/depression-older-adults
Geriatric Mental Health Foundation. Anxiety and Older Adults. https://www.aagponline.org/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=anxiety
Harvard Health Publishing. Treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder in the Elderly. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/treating-generalized-anxiety-disorder-in-the-elderly
CDC. The State of Mental Health and Aging. Issue Brief #1. What do the Data Tell Us. https://www.cdc.gov/aging/publications/mental-health.html
CDC. The State of Mental Health and Aging in America. Issue Brief #2: Addressing Depression in Older Adults: Selected Evidence-based Programs. https://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/mental_health_brief_2.pdf
CDC. Depression is Not a Normal Part of Growing Older. . 2017 https://www.cdc.gov/aging/depression/
National Institute of Mental Health. Older Adults and Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/older-adults-and-mental-health/index.shtml
Anand Prakash., et al. “Psychology of Depression in Elderly: A Review”. EC Psychology and Psychiatry 8.4 (2019): 263-27 https://www.ecronicon.com/ecpp/pdf/ECPP-08-00450.pdf
Awunor NS, et al. “Prevalence and Predictors of Depression Among the Elderly in Selected Rural Communities in Delta State, Nygeria” Journal of Community Medicine and Primary Health Care. 2018. 30 (1); 122-130. https://www.ajol.info/index.php/jcmphc/article/view/168672
Balsamo M, et al. “Assessment of Anxiety in Older Adults: A Review of Self-Report Measures. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2018. 13; 573-593. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5896683/
DAY, Patricia (2018). “Treatment of anxiety in elderly housebound patients”. Journal of Community Nursing, 32 (2), 52-55 https://shura.shu.ac.uk/21559/1/Day-TreatmentOfAnxietyInElderlyHouseboundPatients%28AM%29.pdf
Pocklington C. “Depression in Older Adults”. British Journal of Medical Practitioners. 2017. Vol 10(1); a 1007 https://www.bjmp.org/files/2017-10-1/bjmp-2017-10-1-a1007.pdf
Snedeker, L. (2018) “Understanding Depression and Aging - Guidance for Social Workers”. Social Work Today. Vol 18 (1). P. 10 https://www.socialworktoday.com/archive/JF18p10.shtml
Subramanyam, A et. “Clinical Practice Guidelines for Geriatric Anxiety Disorders”. IndianJPsychiatry. 2018. Feb. 60 (3); 371-382. Doi: 10.4103/DO19-5545 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5840911/
Wang, J., Kearney, J. A., Jia, H., & Shang, J. (2016). Mental Health Disorders in Elderly People Receiving Home Care. Nursing Research, 65(2), 107–116. doi: 10.1097/nnr.0000000000000147 https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/doi/10.7916/D8ZG70WV/download

Materials used in connection with this course may be subject to copyright protection. Retention of the materials for longer than the class term, unauthorized further dissemination of the materials, or use of copyrighted materials in any way other than intended for this class is prohibited by Copyright and Teach Act laws.


This course was developed with Rochester Community and Technical College's Center for Business and Workforce Education Division located in Rochester Minnesota.

Course Code
Course Category
Professional Health