A certain amount of stress in our lives is completely normal and even healthy, but excess stress levels, especially in seniors, can be dangerous to our health. Since April is stress awareness month, we’re focusing this blog on how to help seniors cope with and manage stress.
Noticing signs of stress in seniors
When stress goes unnoticed among seniors, it can lead to further problems such as high blood pressure, and can cause any existing health conditions to worsen. So, it’s important that you can spot signs of stress, as a caregiver, and address the issue before it leads to complications.
Here are a few common signs of stress among seniors:
- Impaired memory
- Mood swings and irritability
- Loss of appetite and other changes to eating habits
- Isolative behavior – avoiding socializing and other activities they enjoy
- Aches and pains
- Difficulties falling and staying asleep
Tips to help manage stress
If you notice any of the above changes among your elderly family members, then they could be experiencing high levels of stress. So, how do you help them manage stress in this situation?
- Meditation – Meditation is a beneficial exercise for anyone, at any age. Just taking a few moments to sit and breathe can help to reduce stress, and meditation in the long term can change the way your mind and body responds to stressful situations.
- Physical activity – Light exercise also has meditative properties as well as helping to boost your endorphins, therefore improving your overall mood. Going for a walk or practicing tai chi, for example, are great ways to lower stress and keep your body active. Outdoor exercise also has the added benefit of getting some fresh air and a change of scenery.
- Socializing – Staying social is an effective way to manage and reduce stress. If family members regularly visit then it helps to keep seniors active and keep their minds off potential stressors. Joining a local social group or staying social when living in a senior home has great health benefits.
- Pets – Socializing with pets is another great way to manage stress and other problems with mood. It can instantly lower blood pressure and improve your mood. Some senior homes even have therapy pets that come into the home and socialize with its residents.
As well as looking out for signs of stress in those that you care for, it is also important that caregivers focus on managing their own stress, as well. If you need any assistance caring for elderly family members, then get in touch with us to find out more about our services. We support seniors and their caregivers in the Piedmont Triad, including Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, and Kernersville.