Stress is a constant challenge in daily living, what with all the things happening around you. And this can have a significant negative impact on your health. That is more so with older people, with their weaker bodies. Thus, you should put the effort into helping seniors cope with stress more effectively. Providers of home health care in California give tips in dealing with the matter.
The Effects Of Stress On The Body
People have long known that stressful events can affect your overall health. But it was only in recent decades that we began to understand to what extent that is. Here, it turns out that stress can affect all the different aspects of your health.
The most noticeable effects of stress are arguably on your physical health. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Low energy
- Stomach conditions like diarrhea and constipation
- Tensed muscles, aches, or pains
- Rapid heartbeat and chest pains
- Frequent infections
- Dry mouth
If you already have these symptoms from a current illness, stress can aggravate them. As such, you might have a longer time recovering from your illness.
Effects On Medical Conditions
Prolonged stress can also increase your risk for various medical conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular illnesses. Stress causes the liver to release large amounts of sugar into your bloodstream. Meanwhile, your heart starts beating faster and your blood vessels become narrower, increasing the risk of a heart attack.
Older people become more prone to these conditions because of their weaker bodies. What makes this more difficult is that they can have a hard time dealing with stress. That leaves them in a precarious situation.
Beyond the physical manifestations, stress can also impact one’s mental well-being. Some of the effects you can experience here are:
- Difficulty focusing on tasks
- Forgetfulness and disorientation
- Poor judgment
- Frequent mood swing
These mental changes can significantly affect how you perform daily tasks. It can also give rise to mental issues like depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and bipolar disorders. Additionally, you increase the risk of accidents due to the inability to focus.
Stress can also induce various behavioral changes in a person. These behavioral changes are often due to you trying to cope with the stress. Some of the changes that you might notice include:
- Changes in appetite – either you start overeating or each much less than before.
- Social withdrawal
- Lethargy and outright refusal to participate in activities
- Angry outbursts
- Unusual behavior like nail-biting or fidgeting
- Possible abuse of substances like alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs
Note that the behavioral changes that happen can vary from person to person. That can make it difficult to determine if these are due to stress or something else. Such behavioral changes can also be very disruptive, hampering your ability to socialize.
Finding The Source Of Stress In Seniors
The first course of action when helping seniors cope with stress is finding the cause of that stress. This can be a challenge because people react differently to stress. What might seem like a significant stressor to one person might not necessarily be the case for another. Nevertheless, there are some common ones that older people might encounter.
Entering your senior years ushers in a wide variety of changes. There are physical changes that limit your ability to do activities. You also go through major lifestyle changes, such as retirement or living alone.
These changes can come either abruptly or gradually. Nevertheless, people might struggle thinking about how to handle them. Thus, take a moment to breathe and assess each change one at a time.
Along with the above changes, seniors might think about the responsibilities they still need to handle. For instance, they might be left to care for a sick spouse. Or they might have to care for their grandchildren in place of their parents.
Loss Of Independence
A particular life change many seniors worry about is their loss of independence. After all, they have lived most of their lives as independent adults. With that gone, they might experience low self-esteem as they think about how others see them now.
Loss Of Loved Ones
Another significant development that can lead to stress is the loss of loved ones. The death of a spouse, in particular, can affect them significantly. Here, they might feel as if they are left alone in this world. As such, you must provide them with enough emotional support.
Helping Seniors Cope With Stress
Once you have identified what might be stressing your elderly loved ones, it becomes easier to help them cope with it. The first thing to do here is to encourage them to talk about the difficulties they are experiencing and the emotions they are feeling. With that, you help them release all the tension they are feeling.
Amavi can assist you here through our counseling services. We can refer your loved one to an expert counselor who can reach out to them more effectively. They will then provide coping strategies that better match your loved one’s condition.
Helping Seniors Train Their Minds
Another crucial step in helping seniors cope with stress is training their minds to focus on other things. There are various ways that they can do this, such as:
- Trying out a new hobby
- Doing volunteer work
- Caring for a pet
- Exercising and doing other leisure activities
Besides helping your elderly loved ones divert their attention to something more productive, these activities also help them stay healthy.
Staying In Touch
It is also important that your older loved ones have an active social life. That helps them cope with the feelings of loneliness. Additionally, it gives them a renewed sense of belongingness and purpose.
Family members will be the strongest source of that social connection. As such, you should be ready to be there for them. Additionally, help them reconnect with old friends and acquaintances. Beyond that, encourage them to make new acquaintances outside of their usual circle.
The Best Home Health Care In California For Stress Relief
Amavi understands the significant impact stress can bring on older people’s lives. For that, we have created a comprehensive stress reduction program. Here, you will be able to connect with experts who can help you better handle the condition. We also provide facilities and tools for stress relief, even in the comforts of your home. Sign up today and get the best home health care in California to guide your elderly loved one.