April is Stress Awareness Month, designed to promote public awareness of what stress is, what causes it to occur and what can be done about it. It’s a month long focus on the dangers of stress, successful coping strategies and the myths that are prevalent in our society.
While everyone experiences some levels of stress, for seniors, stress has the potential to be overwhelming. Along with contributing factors such as the loss of a spouse or friends, living alone can increase the sense of isolation. The effects of stress can sometimes exacerbate health conditions from which some seniors suffer, causing additional worry. So, how can you tell if your older loved one is showing signs of suffering from stress?
5 Common Signs of Stress in Seniors
- Changes in eating habits, such as over-eating or loss of appetite, can be caused by overwhelming stress.
- Mood swings due to stress may present in increased irritability, general sadness or depression.
- Seniors experiencing overwhelming stress often isolate themselves from others, refusing to socialize or participate in activities they used to enjoy.
- Physical signs of stress can include body aches and pains or increased episodes of illness. Changes in sleeping patterns – either trouble falling asleep or interrupted nighttime sleep.
- Memory issues may arise in the form of increased forgetfulness of names, places or other things that normally come naturally. Lack of concentration my become a problem. some seniors may exercise poor judgment such as excessive spending when they are already on a limited budget.
Tips for Alleviating Stress
The good news is that seniors can benefit from these stress-reduction activities.
- Do some physical activity. Exercises like yoga, tai chi, exercises designed for seniors, or simply walking can alleviate the effects stress can cause.
- Meditation can also be beneficial. Simply taking time to collect your thoughts will often lead to increased energy and stamina and alleviate worry.
- Healthy eating and getting enough sleep are good stress-busters, too. Cells are regenerated and harmful invaders (like cancer cells) are destroyed while we sleep and leaves us feeling thoroughly de-stressed and rejuvenated.
- Get a pet. It may be a dog, a cat, a parakeet — or any other pet. Surprised? Science shows that the unconditional love pets exhibit helps us to naturally de-stress with powerful effects on lowering our blood pressure.
- Find a new purpose. If work was your life, it’s time to find something new to focus on. Volunteer, sign up for classes, or pursue a hobby you never had time for.
- Socialize. Get in touch with an old friend, join a bridge club or local senior citizens center, do volunteer work, etc. Socialization offers a chance to clear the mind of daily responsibilities.
- Seek professional help. Many communities have special services to help with the needs of the elderly, including services directed at the causes of stress and seniors’ needs. Check with your state, city, or county Department of Health or local non-profit organizations.
One Call Alert enables independent living at home for seniors and others with 24/7 medical alert monitoring. One Call Alert is simple to use and reliable. Our No-Installation-Needed system delivers emergency care with just one push of a button. Whether you had a minor slip in your kitchen or you are having a medical emergency, One Call Alert will be there for you.