Stress is one of the most significant and persistent factors impacting the lives of seniors and the elderly. When it comes to managing stress, the elderly and seniors are no exception. They too can be victims of isolation-induced anxiety and depression, as well as impaired sleep quality, among other consequences of stress.
These seniors and elders find themselves in a difficult position as they lead busy and often demanding lifestyles while simultaneously experiencing chronic pain, medication side effects, and reduced mobility that can only exacerbate their stress levels.
They may also experience psychological injury such as post-traumatic stress or depression which can combine with physical injuries to lead to a spiral of negative health outcomes.
Older adults may find it difficult to manage stress due to factors such as social isolation, physical limitations, and loss of functional independence. Although there are many strategies that can be applied to address these stressors, some interventions are better than others.
For example, aerobic exercise has been shown in studies to reduce cortisol levels in older adults. Mental exercises like playing chess or taking up a new hobby can also positively impact the mental well-being in aging adults.
Symptoms of stress in elderly
Many people believe that the problem of stress is not prevalent in the elderly population. However, this population does experience many changes that can cause stressors; the majority of them are related to health and losing independence.
Anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings, cognitive changes are some of the more common symptoms an elderly individual may experience if they are experiencing stress. A variety of factors can contribute to the onset of these symptoms such as a person’s overall health and their social well-being.
Certain medications for conditions such as autoimmune disease or arthritis can cause individuals to feel more stressed than they usually would. Social isolation can also contribute to feelings of stress.
Tips for Lowering Stress in Elders
Exercise can be a way to reduce stress in the elderly. As we age, our bodies become less flexible and healthy; this means that people who exercise may experience less stress. Exercise can reduce cortisol levels, which is a hormone linked to stress. The benefits of exercise also include improved sleep and better cardiovascular health. Speaking with someone about their day or just listening can also help reduce stress in the elderly.
Exercise also increases blood flow, which lowers blood pressure, improves immunity, and relieves anxiety. This is why it is so important for elderly people to stay active.
Body Manipulation :
Body manipulation can help reduce stress in the elderly. There are a variety of body work services available, such as massage therapy, body brushing and reiki. It is a method of stress management where different massage techniques are used to stimulate circulation and to relax the nervous system.
One popular type is called “Swedish massage” which uses slow and deep, circular or cross-fiber strokes that can be firm or gentle depending on the client’s needs. Nursing care workers often use this technique with seniors who suffer from high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases.
Another technique is tai-chi which uses controlled breathing to promote relaxation. It also increases heart rate variability, helps with balance, and improves eye-hand coordination. Yoga is another way to decrease stress since it balances the nervous system, strengthens muscles, improves flexibility and helps with pain management.
Build strong social relationships:
Elderly having close friends, family members, church-based communities, and other forms of social connections helps people feel happy and secure. Social connections can also provide emotional support that may help reduce feelings of depression or loneliness.
By spending time around other people, elderly individuals are less likely to feel alienated or alone, and will also be able to share their experiences and wisdom with others. Furthermore, socializing may also help the individual avoid the negative consequences of loneliness like depression and memory loss.
Socializing is essential for mood elevation. The more often a person goes out and spends time with others, the happier they will feel about themselves and their lives as a whole.
Become a member of a club or take a course:
The benefits of joining a club or class in the elderly is that it will help to prevent social isolation and increase independence. It also provides an opportunity for seniors to exercise, socialize with other people, and possibly learn new skills.
The senior population has a high rate of loneliness, and clubs provide a space for people to interact with one another. Clubs can also provide safety precautions for different types of activities. For example, some clubs have nurses on hand. Elderly people are also more prone to falls which they may not be able to handle themselves.
Playing with a Pet is a great way to relax and unwind:
Pet ownership may be an effective intervention to reduce stress, improve mood, and increase physical activity among older adults. One way this can be accomplished is by introducing the pet as a family member who will be around for life, and reinforcing that concept through training and play time.
By playing with pets and utilizing their innate sense of curiosity and energy, they will offer non-judgmental companionship to those experiencing loneliness or isolation.
In conclusion, it is important for senior citizens to manage their stress levels by finding ways to reduce the daily stresses, staying active, and finding ways to adapt. An end call to action might be “Seniors should choose activities that they enjoy in order to stay active and happy.