We all know what it’s like to feel stressed. When you have a deadline looming at work, financial concerns, or problems at home, you experience stress – a normal physical, mental and emotional response to life’s challenges. Stress can cause adverse effects on the mind and body, particularly when it becomes frequent – and it can be especially harmful to seniors.
What is Stress?
When you feel stressed, adrenaline and cortisol course through your body. These ‘stress hormones’ get to work fast – setting off responses that cause the physical and emotional symptoms of stress. Our bodies were designed this way, so that when we encountered a threat, we would be able to do what we had to survive. Now, we’re more likely to experience stress as a result of work, family, or other concerns, instead of from an approaching predator, but the process is still the same.
Symptoms of Stress in Seniors
When seniors are stressed, they experience a lot of the same symptoms we all do. These can include:
- Tension headaches – headaches that feature a dull, squeezing pain on both sides of the head
- Back pain
- Poor concentration
- Heart palpitations
- Chewing fingernails or the inside of the cheek or lips
- Restlessness or agitation
- Muscle aches
- Chest pains
- High blood pressure
- Heartburn or indigestion
Why is Stress More Dangerous for Seniors?
In older adults, stress often appears in more physical ways. This can be dangerous for someone already experiencing health problems. For example, if someone has a history of heart disease, stress can cause heart palpitations, which can exacerbate those problems. Stress can also lower our body’s capabilities to fight infections and can cause high blood pressure, which can be especially dangerous in older adults.
What Causes Stress in Seniors?
Older adults feel stressed for many of the same reasons that we all do, but they are at a point in their lives where they may be experiencing certain life changes, and this can result in more stress than usual. Some of these stressors may include:
- Living on a fixed income
- Feeling isolated from others
- Serious health conditions like heart disease or diabetes
- Coping with a loss, like the loss of a friend or loved one, or even something like the loss of their career (retirement), their ability to take care of themselves, or their sense of purpose
5 Stress Relief Tips for Seniors
1. Get Regular Exercise
Getting our physical activity in might get a bit harder as we get older, but it’s still very important. Even if it’s just a daily walk, physical activity lowers stress, keeps our bodies healthy, and improves mood. If you have limited mobility, you may still be able to benefit from an activity like yoga. There are certain yoga poses that can be done in a wheelchair.
2. Reach Out for Support
If you’re dealing with grief from the loss of a loved one or from any type of loss, it’s difficult to get through without support. Reach out to friends and family, or join a support group for those going through the same thing.
3. Take Care of Yourself
Not getting enough sleep, eating a lot of processed foods, drinking alcohol frequently and smoking have a lot of negative effects on the body, as well as on the mind. This is true for everyone, but these habits can be especially detrimental as we age.
4. Consider Getting a Pet
If you’re able to care for a pet, it may help to reduce your stress levels. Pet ownership has been linked with less stress and a better overall mood.
5. Participate in a Program Designed to Help Seniors Improve Their Overall Wellness
These types of mind-body programs can give you the support and encouragement you need to manage your physical, mental, and emotional or spiritual wellness.
Let Someone Else Do the Worrying
If you’ve been thinking about senior living for yourself or a loved one, now’s the time. It’s best to make the move to senior living before any major health concerns or mobility issues develop, so you can enjoy the full benefits of the community. When you let us do the worrying, you’ll experience lower levels of stress, improved health and mood, and higher levels of overall well being.
The worry-free lifestyle at Eagle Flats Village means:
- All utilities, including basic cable, included in each private apartment (landline phone not included)
- Chef-inspired, nutritiously conscious home-cooked meals are served in-house daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Exceptional care by trained on-site staff 24/7 under the direction of a Registered Nurse
- Personalized assistance with bathing, grooming, hygiene, and dressing
- Transportation availability into and around the Vernon community
- Weekly light housekeeping
- Weekly laundry service
- Medication management
- A full calendar of enriching programs and social events
- Convenient access to on-site beauty and barbershop
- Pets allowed
- And more
Are you ready to feel less stressed, less lonely and less overwhelmed – and more relaxed, more engaged, and more social? Come see why our residents love Eagle Flats Village – schedule a visit today.