Stress is the body’s normal reaction to high pressure, unexpected or traumatic events in life.
Everyone experiences stress in small doses, but long-term stress can have a serious effect on a person’s physical and mental health. Aging adults are particularly susceptible to stress and the negative health effects because their stressors are usually significant and lasting and they often don’t have ways to manage that stress effectively.
Some of the most common causes of stress in seniors include chronic illness, declining health conditions, loss of spouse and friends, moving, loss of independence, financial difficulties, diminished mobility, declining cognitive ability and the inability to take care of their basic needs. Family caregivers can step in and help their aging relatives alleviate the triggers and manage their stress.
Here are 5 ways that aging adults can effectively manage stress:
1. Get Active
Medical experts agree that the number one way to ease tension and relieve stress is to get more active. For seniors, this can be especially challenging as their aging bodies don’t allow them to perform many basic exercises or activities safety. However, there are still plenty of choices for elderly adults of all abilities. Examples include tai chi, walking, chair aerobics, senior dance classes, and gardening.
2. Get Social
Stress can prompt seniors to withdraw from activities and interactions that they used to enjoy, such as gatherings with family, outings with friends, church, senior center events and community activities. Spending time with loved ones and engaging in pleasurable activities can diminish the effects of long-term stress.
3. Get Relaxed
It’s important for elderly adults to take care of themselves physically when they are dealing with stress. The muscles can become stiff and tense when stressed, so aging adults need to do what they can to relax. Examples include geriatric massage, warm baths, restful sleep, comfortable bedding and even meditation and mindfulness exercises.
4. Get Treated
Long-term stress needs to be stopped, and sometimes the best way for that to happen is via a doctor and a therapist. The doctor can do a physical examination and rule out anything medical. They can also prescribe medication that may help with stress. A therapist can work with aging adults to get to the root of the problems that may be triggering the fight or flight response in the body.
5. Get Help
Seniors may feel overly stressed when they try to do everything themselves. Family caregivers can pitch in and take care of some household duties like outside chores, meal prep, and laundry. However, there are lots of senior care services that can also make a difference. Many communities deliver meals and provide reading volunteers. It’s a good idea to hire a qualified senior care assistant to come in a few days of the week and assist with grooming, bathing, housecleaning, transportation and many other tasks.
Family caregivers should not wait until stress damages their aging loved one’s health. By utilizing different stress management techniques, their elderly relative can get back to a happier and healthier lifestyle.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Senior Care in Deerfield, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare In-Home Care and Home Health Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.
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