Due to the many life changes they face, seniors frequently report experiencing high levels of stress. Stress might be a mental issue, but it has a real and dangerous effect on a senior’s physical health as well. Chronic stress can elevate blood pressure and increase the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and other issues. Here are a few ways to reduce your senior loved one’s stress.
Stress triggers a “fight or flight” response in the human body that can cause elevated blood pressure. An easy way to use up this burst of energy is through exercise, such as going for a walk or lifting weights. Exercising metabolizes away stress hormones and increases levels of dopamine and other calming hormones.
Seniors with mobility limitations or other health conditions may find it difficult to exercise safely on their own. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional elder care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Promote Better Sleep Hygiene
One of the main ways the body naturally de-stresses is through sleep. Seniors who don’t get enough sleep are likely to spend the next day feeling grumpy and irritated, so always schedule enough time for sleep. To help with insomnia, create a cool, quiet, dark area for your loved one to sleep in, and make sure he or she goes to bed and gets up at the same time each day. You can further enhance sleep quality by helping your loved one avoid screen time or mentally stimulating activities during the final hour before bed.
It’s important for caregivers to pay attention to their own stress levels, too. Family caregivers sometimes need a break from their caregiving responsibilities. When they need respite care, Anchorage families can rely on professional caregivers to help their senior loved ones remain safe at home.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
As with any other skill, your loved one can practice relaxing. There are all sorts of relaxation techniques, ranging from mindful breathing to repeating a positive mantra. Many seniors find it helpful to use their chosen techniques whenever they start feeling stressed, as their favorite relaxation methods can combat intrusive thoughts, release tension, and manage frustration in a positive way. Even if your loved one cannot avoid the cause of the stress, the focused breathing and thinking of relaxation techniques may prevent him or her from reacting negatively to stress.
Reduce Stimulant Intake
Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine can worsen stress issues, so you should encourage your loved one to avoid using them. Alcohol is technically a depressant, but it can have some stimulant-like qualities that make it problematic. Herbal teas and fruit juices without added sugar are a good alternative for seniors who need to switch to non-caffeinated and alcohol-free beverages.
Visit a Therapist
Not all stress is caused by daily annoyances like traffic or a busy schedule. Some seniors are facing very intense issues—such as the death of a loved one or a gradual decrease in physical abilities—that make it challenging for them to relax. In these cases, it can be helpful to schedule time with a therapist. Having someone who will listen and give advice on working through difficult emotions can be an invaluable way of combating stress.
Stress can have a number of unhealthy physical and emotional effects on seniors, so lowering stress levels is an important part of boosting their overall wellbeing. In Anchorage, home care service agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. Home Care Assistance will work with you to customize a care plan that’s just right for your loved one’s needs. Call us today at (907) 770-0907 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.