Someone once said, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another,” – which couldn’t be more true. We have the power to take control of our stress and redirect the energy into something more positive. Stress that goes unmanaged has a detrimental effect on our well-being. Especially for older adults, it significantly increases the risk of anxiety, depression, digestive issues, sleep problems, heart disease, and even memory impairments. That’s why it’s so important to face stress head-on with methods that are proven to ease tension and promote good mental health. In this article, our independent living team at JCHC will go over the signs of stress and what seniors can do to successfully manage it.
Signs of stress in seniors
Indications that your senior loved one could be suffering from stress include:
- Changes in eating habits, including overeating or loss of appetite.
- An onset of memory problems, including forgetfulness, lack of concentration or poor judgment.
- Body aches, increased pain or increased frequency of illness.
- Mood swings, depression or increased irritability.
- Sudden isolation and refusal to socialize.
Tips for reducing stress in seniors
- Practice meditation: Meditation is a powerful calming technique that helps focus on breathing and relaxation. However, if it isn’t right for your loved one, choose another calming activity like painting, going for a walk, swimming or reading in a quiet room.
- Make healthy diet choices: Stress and tiredness can lead to making poor dietary decisions, which lead to yet more stress and fatigue. Help dad resist the urge to reach for a candy bar and choose whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish and lean meats instead. Holding him accountable on a daily basis can help effectively break this cycle.
- Listen to music: Listening to music is a well-known relaxation technique, reducing cortisol (the stress hormone) as well as blood pressure. Gentle, calming classical music or even the sound of the ocean will help invoke feelings of calmness. While more fast-paced, upbeat music can increase levels of dopamine (the feel-good hormone).
- Join a club: Studies have shown that participants in social clubs and activities are far less likely to suffer from loneliness, stress, and depression. Find an activity or hobby mom enjoys, like gardening or reading, and see if there are local senior clubs in the area for her to join. Or if mom resides in a senior living community, get in touch with their activity coordinators to see what kinds of activities/social clubs they are offering on a regular basis.
- Get active: Regular exercise directly reduces stress and boosts both mental and physical health. What’s more, you don’t have to do a lot of it — just 20 minutes a day is needed to get most of the benefits of exercise. Activities like walking, dancing and yoga are all great options for seniors. However, it’s essential to consult your loved one’s physician first in order to ensure the new exercise will not put them at risk of injury or overexertion.
Assisted Living Services for Independent Seniors in Whippany NJ
At Lester Senior Living, we prioritize a stress-free environment — allowing residents to enjoy their senior living community, friends, and social activities while we manage the nuances of day-to-day living. With comfortable, open-plan apartments, a lively community spirit and an events calendar filled with activities, we offer a welcoming and easy-going atmosphere for all of our senior residents to age gracefully.
In addition to assisted living, Lester also offers independent living, comprehensive memory care, and short-term respite stays. For more information about our assisted living facility in Whippany NJ, please contact us to schedule a tour or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org