While most people experience stress at some point in their lives, elderly adults are particularly susceptible to the physical and mental health issues associated with it. Seniors also have a lot of long-term stressors that they may find difficult to deal with, leading to more chronic conditions as a result. If you are a family caregiver that is worried about the impact of stress on your aging relative’s health and wellness, you need to learn more about long-term stress in seniors and also stress management techniques.
What Causes Long-Term Stress in Seniors?
Stress is the body’s reaction to sudden changes, unpleasant experiences and dangerous situations. Hormones flood the body, causing a rapid heartbeat, faster breathing and a heightened nervous system. Usually, the body calms down after a while with no problems. However, with long-term stress, the symptoms remain. When the body is under stress for too long health problems begin.
Seniors often deal with a lot of stress, stemming from such life-changing events like developing an illness, surgery, moving from their home, loss of a spouse and friends, financial hardships, chronic pain, senior care dependence and loss of driving privileges, just to name a few.
Among the most common health issues due to long-term stress are fatigue, headaches, insomnia, loss of appetite, poor concentration, memory lapses, unexplained aches and pains and a weakened immune system. Stress can also cause depression and anxiety and can even put the elderly person at a higher risk for heart disease and cancer. The health effects of long-term stress aren’t healthy, so you need to talk with them about stress management options.
Ways to Manage Stress in Seniors
The first thing to do for stress management is to recognize the condition for what it is and identify the stressor. You can be watching for the warning signs if your loved one has experienced a major lie change recently. Then you can implement some stress management techniques to help them regain some balance.
There are numerous ways to manage stress in seniors, including exercise, healthy diet, meditation, geriatric massage and getting plenty of sleep. Other options include listening to calming music, doing a hobby, visiting with family and friends, watching a funny show or movie and attending social events. For more serious cases, seniors may benefit from seeing a therapist. Many people hire a senior care aide to assist with household chores, transportation and meal preparation to allow seniors to step away from those stressful duties. A doctor can also help with medications designed to help relieve chronic stress symptoms. No matter what, you shouldn’t give up on helping your elderly relative try to manage the symptoms of stress.
Your elderly loved one’s remaining years should not be impacted by long-term stress if it can be helped. While there will definitely be times of change and sadness, they don’t have to cloud all the wonderful things that happen as well. With a strong support group of family members, senior care assistants, friends and community, elderly adults can deal with stress and emerge as stronger and healthier people.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering senior care in San Jose, CA, please contact the caring staff at Bay Area Home Care. Call today 650-938-4031.