stress

How Stress Affects Seniors and How to Get Over It

Stress is part of life and every new day brings further stress. However, coping with stress is not so easy. As we grow old, the body responds to stress differently.

Changes In Stress With Age

When our body is under stress, our brains sense danger. The muscles contract and body glands release stress hormone. 

These body fluids give us extra vigor and eventually increase heart rate and blood pressure. These are all reactions to stress and are not harmful. But, if they occur regularly, they might give us harm. 

However, when stress levels increase and our body is continuously on alert, there can be permanent side effects. The body’s immune system weakens, anxiety, depression, and a more significant heart disease risk.

In senior citizens, bodily changes in response to stress can have a physical and mental effect. As we grow old, we have less resistance to stress. Effects of anxiety in older people are different. Our body cells are aging. Heart fitness and lung capacity decline, especially if one is physically inactive.

Mental changes can also occur due to stress. Stress affects the brain, and old adults have mental issues. These issues are separate from age-related memory loss. Rest and sleep help most people. Many seniors have sleeping issues, and stress can change their sleep pattern, resulting in a continuous cycle of anxiety and sleep issues.

Common Signs of Stress

Every person has a different kind of stress response, and they show it in various ways. Common symptoms of stress include:

  • Back pain
  • Indigestion
  • Tension headaches
  • Heart palpitations
  • Poor concentration
  • Crying
  • Indecisiveness
  • Hot temper 
  • Edginess

Stress Management 

There are various approaches to stress management. Namely;

a)Physical

b) Mental

c) Lifestyle

Physical Approach

Water Sports

A way to get rid of stress is swimming, walking on water, and taking water exercise classes. Water sport is suitable for elderly people. As they can decrease stress without putting extra strain on bones and joints.

Walking

Walking is the best way to fresh up and relax. Early morning walks release cortisol, which reduces the level of stress. A walk in the park gives oxygen to the brain, which energizes the body and boosts your mood.

Listening to Music

Slow and easy music is good to reduce your stress level. Some people listen to Mozart and some old romantic music. Music choice varies from person to person, but the effect is always soothing.

Breathing Exercise

Daily breathing exercises calm your body and release tension. It’s quick and straightforward, inhale and exhale for 10 minutes every day and you notice a change in your body.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water removes toxic substances from the body. One must drink 3 to 4 liter of water daily. Drinking water keeps your stress level down. To develop the habit of drinking water, always keep a bottle or glass by your side.

Eat Fruits

Fruits contain antioxidants, which are suitable for health. The body gets ready to fight stress.

Drinking Tea

Make a habit of drinking a hot cup of tea in the afternoon. Various kinds of herbal tea have healing and calming effects. There are lavender and lemon tea, which are suitable for decreasing stress levels. Tea should not be taken before sleep as it will affect your sleep pattern. Hemp cigarettes CBD smoke alternative to tobacco cigarettes.

Stretch

Light exercise always releases tension. Extending your arms and legs reduces stress and gives you a feeling of relief. 

Singing and Dancing

Dancing and singing with friends and family members makes you happy. Going to parties and social gathering makes you forget all the worries Mental Stress Management and decrease your stress level.

Hobbies to Keep you Busy

One should have a hobby to keep yourself busy in old age. It can be gardening or painting. The active mind has little time to think. With no worries on your mind, the stress level goes down.

Reading

Reading is a perfect pastime. One learns about our life. Reading fiction and poetry have healing effects. We must get out of our busy, hectic lives and read. Keep a book or a magazine by your side. Reading relaxes your mind.

Meditate

A little meditation exercise just by sitting in silence for ten minutes a day can do wonders. We must focus on breathing and go deep into our thoughts. If we meditate daily, it brings a sense of tranquility and peace to both mind and soul.  

Night Time Review

Before going to bed, think about what you did all day. The positive and negative things. Did you do all our dealings correctly? This exercise will keep you away from things upsetting you. When one is grateful for the things he has makes you happy and less stressed.

Try to Keep a Pet

Animals like dogs or a cat can be a good companion. Keeping a pet teaches you how to care and love. In old age, one needs a company. Animals also return the love given to them. Loving someone keeps you calm and relaxed.

Spirituality

Going to prayers connecting to god gives you a purpose in life. Going to church, meeting people, helping the poor make you feel comfortable. It increases your level of happiness.

Lifestyle 

Enough Sleep and Rest

Old people who sleep less than eight hours a night show higher stress levels. When you sleep well-and rest, you think more clearly, and you feel less overwhelmed. Relax before going to bed, listen to soothing music, stretching or reading a book to lower stress levels. Many people ask what is CBD oil. It is used to help them sleep.

Get Involved in Social Activities.

Caring for others gives your mind a break from your worries. It brings joy to your life. Try to make a positive difference. Sharing reduces stress and improves overall happiness. To get involved in local charity to help others.

Reduce Cell Phone Use.

A study shows that cell phones are a significant cause of stress. Reducing cell phone usage time will significantly affect your stress level.

Social Gathering

Making social contact increases your social circle. Meeting friends and relatives also bring happiness and boost your mood. It distracts you from everyday worries, helps you to cope with life’s ups and downs.  

Watch a Movie

Spend time with your loved one. Together watch a movie. Go to the movie theatre, eat ice cream and popcorn. This kind of activity brings joy to life.

Signs of Depression in Elderly Adults

  • Sadness or feelings of grief.
  • Unexplained aches and pains.
  • Loss of interest in socializing or hobbies.
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite.
  • Feelings of despair or helplessness.
  • Lack of motivation and energy.
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Loss of self-worth
  • Slowed movement or speech.
  • Use of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Fixation on death; thoughts of suicide.
  • Memory problems.
  • Neglecting personal care 

Causes of Depression in Elderly People

As we grow old, we often face significant life changes that increase the risk of depression. These can include:

  • Health problems. Illness and disability, chronic or severe pain
  • Loneliness and isolation. Living alone
  • A Reduced sense of purpose. Retired life, loss of status
  • Fears of death or dying 
  • Recent bereavements. Death of near one, siblings or even pets