From your busy perspective, you may believe that your elderly mom or dad is living a stress-free life. After all, they are retired and don’t encounter many of the challenges that younger adults face. However, elderly adults come face to face with new challenges that can trigger stress. Because April is Stress Awareness Month, it’s a fine time for you to take a closer look at common causes of senior stress, how stress affects an elderly person’s health and how you can help your mom or dad manage stress.
What Causes Stress in Elderly Adults.
There are numerous causes of physical and emotional stress in the elderly. Among the most common are worries about finances, declining health, chronic pain, loss of driving privileges, reduced independence, fears for the future, loss of loved ones, moving out of their beloved home, facing their own mortality, and mental health issues.
While you won’t be able to eliminate all the sources of stress from your aging parent’s life, it’s important to take control of the ones you can. Identify what the source of stress is and look for a real solution. For example, if your aging mom is struggling to keep up with housework and can no longer drive, hiring an elderly care assistant for her can ease her worries and reduce stress.
How Stress Affects the Health of Elderly Adults.
Studies show that long-term stress can impact the body negatively, affecting a person’s health and wellness. Stress causes the body to release hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which triggers changes to the heart, brain, and other organs. While younger adults have a greater ability to withstand these effects, seniors are less able due to age. Long-term exposure to stress isn’t good for anyone but is particularly detrimental to the elderly.
When seniors suffer from stress, many things can happen to their bodies. Their immune system weakens, and their blood pressure rises. Seniors often take longer to heal from illnesses from germs as well as wounds. Other effects include poor memory, respiratory issues, depression, and anxiety. Interestingly, the longer an elderly person is exposed to stress, the harder it is for them to combat stress. It’s up to you to help your aging parent reduce the triggers and find ways to manage stress, for their own good health.
Stress Management in Elderly Adults.
There are numerous ways that you can help alleviate your aging mom or dad’s stress levels. Building a strong social support is the best way, bringing in friends, family members, elderly care assistants, clergy, and others. Many seniors find success in meditation, praying, or mindfulness activities, especially when coupled with regular exercise. Good eating habits, restful sleep, and a sense of purpose in their daily life contribute to proper stress levels. If there is a source of stress, family members and elderly care helpers can step in to reduce or eliminate it.
Your aging mom or dad really depends on you for a lot of things. Thanks to the information you get from Stress Awareness Month, you’ll be able to step forward and reduce or eliminate harmful long-term stress from their lives. Your elderly parent will be healthier and more satisfied with their life when they are not overstressed.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Evanston, IL, contact the caring staff at Companion Services of America today at (847) 943-3786. Our home care service area includes Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield, Glenview, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Des Plaines, Skokie, Lake Forest, Wilmette and the surrounding areas.