April is Stress Awareness Month. Lifetime Wellness will be actively campaigning throughout our partnerships to promote positive ways to handle stress. Life can be very stressful! Anxiety, depression, and mental health issues are increasing daily for many of all ages and walks of life. Life since the Covid-19 pandemic seems to have made everyday life a bit more complicated.
Life for senior adults can become full of worry and fret. There are many factors that can contribute to this. Complex health issues, loss of a loved one, financial issues, being a caregiver, living alone, and where to spend retirement years are all factors that can increase stress. There are many ways to treat the symptoms and causes of stress. Recognizing symptoms of stress are important.
According to an article by Harvard Health Publishing, there are common signs and symptoms to become aware of.
- tension headaches
- back pain
- heart palpitations
- poor concentration
According to Dr. Ann Webster, a health psychologist at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, “if these signs go untreated there can be a significant increase in cardiovascular issues. It can also increase insulin resistance in diabetics while increasing hypertensive episodes as well as insomnia.” There is so much at stake if these symptoms remain untreated. Thankfully, there are many methods to improve responses to stress. In an older population, these symptoms can easily mask other complicated health issues. Being aware of these symptoms of stress can help caregivers response to elevated stress levels in seniors.
There are many ways to combat stress in senior care. A recent post by the Harvard Special Health Report gives much needed direction to combat the complications of stress and improve quality of life and decrease the effects of stress.
General stress in adults may be reduced with some of the following ideas, as reported in the Harvard Special Health Report Stress Management:
- Engage in regular physical activity. If you are infirm, ask your doctor whether you might benefit from certain types of exercise, such as tai chi, which enhances balance. Many other kinds of physical activity improve your health, lift your mood, and reduce stress, too.
- Consider whether you might benefit from a course in assertiveness training that would help you state your wishes and handle conflicts.
- Join a support group if you are dealing with bereavement.
- Think about getting a pet—both the pluses and minuses. Several studies support the stress-lowering effects of having a dog, cat, or other animal companion. But don’t forget to take into consideration the physical and financial challenges of pet ownership.
- Attend a mind-body program. These can help at any age. Some are specifically designed for seniors. Others may focus on chronic pain or specific ailments, such as heart disease.
There are many ways that our partnerships address the concerns of elevated stress. There are non pharmacological approaches such as aromatherapy, massage, and relaxation rooms. These have proven to be beneficial and enhance overall quality of life for seniors.
Throughout the six dimensions of wellness, Lifetime Wellness, Ltd. provides everyday programs that decrease stress. Body works, Chef works, and Mind Works, are just a few of the offerings our clients can take advantage of. This programming addresses the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of seniors. Our partnerships benefit from gold standard activity programming as well as professional staff management.
Celebrate stress awareness month by taking advantage of opportunities to maintain proper self-care. Senior care thrives when stress lowering offerings are implemented. Life can be difficult, but there are creative solutions to manage the stress and improve the quality of life for seniors.
Stress relief tips for older adults – Harvard Health