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How Stress Affects Seniors and How We Can Help

Ready or not, stress always seems to have a sneaky way of finding us. And while most of the time it comes and goes and we’re able to bounce back fairly quickly, as we get older it’s harder and harder to get a hold on stress—and stress ends up taking a hold on us. Unfortunately, along with the stress comes a boatload of health concerns that are directly caused by it. But there’s good news: there are so many things you, and your home care agency, can do to help manage your stress and take back your life.

 

How Stress Affects Seniors

 

But before we jump to how to fix the problem, it’s important to know the root of your stress and how your body reacts to it as you get older.

 

According to a Harvard study with Dr. Michelle Dossett, an internal and integrative medicine specialist at the Benson-Henry Institute, “heart fitness and lung capacity decline, especially if you’re sedentary,” as you get older. In addition to the deterioration of cells, this also tends to result in weaker resilience when dealing with long-term stress including disabilities, chronic illnesses, and/or a loss of a spouse or important family member.

 

But stress can also manifest in a number of ways that impact brain function and overall health including:

 

  • Short-term/long-term memory
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping and weight loss
  • Weakened concentration
  • Difficulty in recovering from illnesses

 

The bottom line? As you age it’s integral to keep your stress at bay and, in those times when it can’t be managed, to talk to someone who can help.

 

How We Can Help

 

And that’s where we can step in, as your Highland Park home care. Just reading through that list can feel daunting, but there are so many small, tangible things you can do daily to reduce your stress as a senior. Whether it’s just stepping outside for some fresh air or talking to someone about what’s on your mind, you’ll be able to find some much needed peace of mind.

 

  1. Exercise

It’s no news here that exercise has been scientifically proven to boost energy and reduce stress. But that doesn’t mean you have to start lifting weights in the gym. Even just a simple walk around the neighborhood can help increase positivity and decrease anxiety. Do as much as you can in baby steps without over exerting yourself!

 

  1. Meditation/Breathing Techniques
    When you feel stress or anxiety coming on, you can get better control over your breathing with some mindful meditation. Close your eyes and practice inhaling for three and exhaling for three. Or practice meditation in a number of different ways like phone apps, listening to music, or reading.

 

  1. Professional Help
    A common misconception when dealing with stress is that since everyone goes through it, you should just deal with it on your own. In fact, you should be doing the exact opposite! Because everyone is familiar with stress, talking to people about it will ward off feelings of loneliness.

    Professional help can give you the tools you need to minimize stress and, if needed, prescribe the right medication when you need an extra hand.

 

  1. Take Care of Yourself

    If you take anything away from this, it’s that your well-being is the most important. Take care of yourself by getting sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, and practicing some of these stress-management tricks. Don’t know how to start? Search our site to find a Home Care Agency near you.

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