Seniors are not immune to stress. In fact, seniors are affected by some unique stressors. Retirement, death of a spouse, declining health and growing isolation from family and friends are common causes of stress in the elderly. How can caregivers and family members help their elderly loved ones cope? Here are seven stress tips for seniors that can help.
Involve Seniors in Life Decisions
Involving seniors in decision making and planning can help to relieve stress. Give seniors the opportunity to ask questions and voice their opinions about major life decisions. Whenever possible, the wishes of seniors should be followed. Maintaining control of their life will help empower seniors and help eliminate stress. It is often necessary for the elderly to adjust to major life changing decisions such as moving to a new residence or living without a spouse. Having as much control as possible makes seniors better able to adjust to these changes.
Get a Pet
Another stress tip for seniors is for them to get a pet. Pets can help beat depression, loneliness and isolation. They provide companionship to seniors who may be home bound or have few friends and family members to visit them often. Pets are especially helpful for seniors who do not live in retirement communities or senior apartments where there is more chance for social interaction and participation in activities. Pets can give seniors a sense of purpose and help them lead a longer, healthier and more stress-free life. Pets can also help seniors laugh, which is a natural stress reliever. Pets help melt away tension which can lead to stress.
Develop Strong Social Support Networks
Social isolation is one of the main causes of senior stress. Retirement, death of a spouse, decreased social activities due to illness or aging and moving from homes to apartments or retirement housing can all isolate seniors and create stress. Another stress tip for seniors is to develop a strong social support system. Social support networks are vital for senior health and wellness. Seniors need a group of peers with whom they feel comfortable sharing their feelings and problems. My mom has found other seniors in her building who she can talk to, confide in and enjoy activities with. You can help your senior loved one avoid the stress that comes with isolation by encouraging them to become involved with a social group. Some great social groups for seniors include volunteer organizations, religious organizations and retirement or senior associations.
Keeping busy is a great way for the elderly to avoid and beat stress. Seniors with active busy lives have less overall stress and are better at managing the stress they do have. Seniors are perfect for doing volunteer work. Joining a golf league, walking club or gym can help seniors stay busy and get regular exercise, both stress relievers. Keeping busy with activities also helps the elderly to be less isolated and interact more with peers. If seniors have a passion, encourage them to follow it. Now is a great time to devote to those things they never had time for while they were busy working and raising children.
Utilize Positive Relaxation Techniques
Another stress tip for seniors is to try to utilize positive relaxation techniques. Meditation, yoga and breathing exercises can help stressed-out seniors to relax, eliminate self-pity and change negative thoughts. Help seniors build their self esteem by positive talk. The elderly may use negative relaxation techniques like smoking and drinking whic can cause them more problems and stress. Try and help seniors break these habits.
Follow Healthy Habits
Making sure your elderly loved one takes care of their health and addresses any health issues can also help ease stress. Nutrition plays an important role in managing senior stress. Seniors should follow a balanced diet full of whole foods and limit their intake of processed foods and alcohol. A good diet will give seniors more energy to participate in activities. Participation in activities can help alleviate senior stress. Seniors can also ease stress by getting enough sleep. Adequate rest can help seniors be more relaxed.
Don’t Overdo It
While seniors should try to include exercise and social activities into their daily schedule, trying to do too many things can actually cause more stress. Seniors need to make sure they are not trying to do too many activities or keep too many commitments. Seniors need more rest and relaxation time than they did in their youth. It’s a simple fact of aging that our bodies can do less.
Following even a few of these stress tips for seniors can help to improve quality of life and provide stimulation and health well into the golden years.