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5 Effects of Stress on Aging

Surges of hormones in the body can be caused by both good and bad experiences. When hormones are released because of stress, they can have a negative effect on overall health, including the aging process. Here are some of the ways stress can impact aging and what seniors can do to prevent these effects.

1. Ages the Brain

One of the top factors associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease is chronic stress. The more stress your elderly parent is under, the quicker he or she begins to experience age-related memory loss, which could make it difficult to think and process information. However, finding ways to stimulate the brain can lower stress levels. For example, journaling and taking up new hobbies allow your loved one to utilize his or her memory and thinking skills while boosting mood and alleviating stress.

2. Causes Vision Loss

Aging puts seniors at a higher risk of developing age-related vision issues, including glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic eye disease, and macular degeneration. When seniors experience chronic stress, the risk of these eye diseases increases. Eye twitching and migraines are also caused by stress and can affect vision. Make sure your loved one exercises frequently to reduce stress and protect his or her vision.

If your loved one needs help exercising because of health conditions or mobility issues, a professional caregiver can be a wonderful addition to your caregiving team. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elderly home care. Anchorage families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

3. Increases the Risk of Heart Disease

One of the top causes of death among older adults is heart disease. Aging leads to changes in the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of a stroke or heart attack. Stress can cause blood clots and poor circulation, leading to high blood pressure and accelerated heart rate. Heart disease can be prevented by following a healthy diet, getting plenty of rest, and staying physically active.

4. Leads to Unhealthy Habits

Instead of learning how to manage the various challenges in life, many seniors turn to bad habits as a way to ease their minds. These habits may include drinking, overeating, and smoking. Bad habits can increase the risk of chronic diseases in the elderly and speed up cognitive decline. Your parent should develop a support team and remain socially active to combat stress and anxiety.

Family caregivers need to follow healthy lifestyles too, and that involves self-care and taking time to nurture their own wellbeing. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Anchorage, AK, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

5. Weakens the Immune System

Aging causes T cell function to decrease in seniors, affecting the way the immune system defends against illnesses and injuries. Since the brain and immune system are in constant communication, anxiety and stress can make diminished immune function even worse for older adults. Stress could cause your parent’s body to produce fewer lymphocytes, the white blood cells that help the body fight off infections. One of the best ways for seniors to prevent stress is to identify the challenges in their lives and develop positive solutions.

A trained professional caregiver can be a wonderful resource when you’re trying to help your loved one lead a healthier lifestyle, which includes reducing stress. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of at-home care. Anchorage families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. If you need professional care for your senior loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (907) 770-0907.