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Stress Management For Seniors

Jun 21

Stress Management for Seniors is a normal part of life, but it can be debilitating for seniors. Understanding what causes stress and the best ways to manage it is important for a healthy retirement.

During stressful times, the brain sends signals to the body, triggering it to tighten muscles, pump out adrenaline and cortisol, and sharpen senses. This response, referred to as the stress response, is necessary for survival in dangerous situations, but chronic stress is unhealthy.

Elders face unique stressors, including health concerns, financial worries, and the loss of loved ones. In addition, many elderly adults have a reduced capacity to cope with stress. Managing stress can improve overall well-being and quality of life, but it’s crucial to recognize the warning signs of stress so your senior can seek help.

Common Sources of Stress for Seniors

Many older adults rely on family members for support and care, but this can be a cause of stress. Many families don’t have the time or resources to provide consistent assistance, and it’s not always easy for seniors to share their feelings about the challenges they face.

Health concerns are another common source of stress for seniors, and it’s no surprise that a person in poor health is more likely to be stressed than someone who is healthy. Unexpected medical bills, prescription drug costs and ongoing health care can quickly add up to a significant amount of stress.

A healthy diet and regular exercise are important for everyone, but they can be especially beneficial for seniors. Maintaining a nutritious, balanced diet can boost immune system function, combat inflammation and help fuel positive physical energy. It can also prevent "stress-eating" — reaching for a bag of chips or a pint of ice cream to soothe an emotional upset.

Many seniors don’t have access to the same social and community support networks that younger people have, but they should try to find ways to connect with others. Getting involved in non-physical group activities, such as volunteering or joining a bridge club, can provide socialization and a chance to relieve stress. Seniors can also benefit from seeking professional help if they experience persistent and overwhelming stress or a significant change in their behavior.