Social anxiety is believed to affect the lives of 15 million adults. Very few people reach out to get help. Around 4 out of 10 most often have the condition for at least a decade before they see a medical professional.
Your mom has all the symptoms of social anxiety. She trembles or fidgets when speaking to others. She turns down invitations, even if it’s a family gathering. She doesn’t have a lot of friends, and she rarely socializes. Is it possible to get her to socialize when social anxiety is present?
Start by Getting Her to See a Doctor
Social anxiety is hard to overcome, but it’s not impossible. Your mom needs to see a specialist. Therapy can help her overcome her mental health condition. Sometimes, anxiety medications help.
Take Things Slowly
She’s not going to change overnight. She’s going to have good days and bad days. Celebrate the good, and don’t dwell on the bad. If a bad day happens, so be it. It’s not the end of the world to have a temporary setback. Take a day or two to stop, rewind, and try again.
Do practice runs of the things that could happen. Go over worst-case scenarios and show her why it’s really not that bad. Be sure to tell her the things you’ve gone through so that she sees she’s not alone. It can even help if you mess up during a social event. Tip over a drink or spill food. It will help her to know that things happen to everyone.
When your mom is ready to try socializing, start small. Don’t throw her into a huge group to start. Instead, have her over for a small dinner with a few people see how it goes. Make sure she has a place to escape if it becomes overwhelming for her.
As she becomes comfortable with a few people, add a few more. Work slowly to a larger gathering of people she knows. When that’s okay, move on to be in an event with strangers.
Introduce Her to Companionship Services
If your mom absolutely will not leave her home to be social, bring someone into her life. Caregivers providing elder care services can be her companion. She’ll have someone to have around to play games, watch movies, or simply talk. Caregivers will work with her and allow her to come out of her shell. Call an elder care agency to talk about companionship services.