We all know that eliminating stressors in our lives results in better well-being and better overall health. But did you know that stressors, and how stress affects us, changes over the course of our lives?
Stress affects people of all ages. Younger individuals tend to manage stress quickly. But studies show that seniors manage stress differently, and it manifests differently mentally, physically, and emotionally. Let’s take a look at the key stressors seniors face, what to look out for, and what to do when stress affects the quality of life.
Common sources of stress in seniors
While we all face stress from time to time, the causes change over time. Things that didn’t impact us negatively before, begin to as we age. New stressors occur such as:
- Changes of lifestyle and financial status after retirement
- Caring for grandchildren
- Caring for a sick spouse
- Death of relatives, beloved or close friends
- Deterioration of physical abilities and chronic illness
- Worries for not being able to live independently
- Worries for institutionalization
Signs of stress in seniors
It’s imperative that you notice when something is causing stress in your life so you can find ways to navigate through those waters without getting derailed. Build awareness so you notice when you’re feeling stressed out. Signs of stress in senior citizens can look like:
- Problems sleeping including insomnia and nightmares
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Feeling pressured or rushed
- Eating too much or loss of appetite
- Irritability and moodiness
- Physical discomfort, such as muscle and joint pain,stomach problems, headaches, or chest pains
- Anxiety, fear, frustration, depression
- Restlessness, poor concentration, forgetfulness
5 the best ways to reduce stress
Managing these stressors is imperative for quality and longevity, of life.
- Communicate! The best thing for seniors to do is to share their difficulties and feelings in facing stress, and their way of coping, with those they can confide in (e.g. relatives and friends). This can lead to empathy, which is very uplifting and empowering. And, through this communication, new coping mechanisms can be shared and learned through other seniors facing the same challenges.
- Get out there. An active social life, healthy lifestyle, and relaxation exercises are all useful ways to handle stress.
- Add value to your community. Try volunteering. Engaging in volunteer work is a means to help those who are less fortunate. It also helps to boost self-confidence and broaden one’s outlook in life.
- Create a mindset shift. Positive thinking, such as appreciating one’s achievements and strengths, can help to enhance self-confidence and to cope with stress.
- Seek a professional. There is zero shame in seeking professional help. They are going to give you the very best resources so you can navigate through these challenges and learn new techniques to manage new stress.
And last but not least, seek an in home caregiver or private duty nurse, should you need one. Our clients enjoy living with less worry and stress because they know we are there for anything they may need to make life easier. To learn more, click here to give us a call. We love chatting with you and answering your questions!