Stress levels in seniors can escalate as a result of current medical conditions, money worries, loneliness, and depression. It’s important that the source of stress be identified so an effective treatment plan can be implemented. Here are five tips for lowering stress in your senior loved one.
1. Promote Socialization
Social isolation isn’t uncommon in older adults and can contribute to stress, depression, and anxiety. To prevent your loved one from becoming socially isolated, schedule outings on a regular basis. If you’re unable to take your loved one to social events because of work obligations or family commitments, ask family or friends to schedule activities. When seniors are active and socialize with others in their peer groups, they may have a better outlook on life and lower stress levels.
Stress is one of many components that can contribute to decreased mental and physical health in seniors. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of in-home care. Allen families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
2. Watch for Medication Side Effects
Many medications can cause significant side effects, which can lead to stress and anxiety. For example, if your loved one takes decongestants to manage allergies, he or she may experience palpitations, insomnia, and anxiety. Diuretics can also cause side effects that mimic symptoms of anxiety, and stress levels may rise. If you notice an increase in stress or anxiety after your loved one takes medication, make an appointment with his or her physician to reduce the dosage or discontinue the offending medication altogether.
3. Encourage Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise releases chemicals in the brain known as endorphins. Also known as “feel-good” hormones, endorphins lower stress levels, promote feelings of wellbeing, reduce the perception of pain, and promote restorative sleep. Exercise doesn’t need to be strenuous for it to have beneficial effects on stress. Even taking a slow-paced walk can relieve stress, enhance lung function, and increase range of motion.
Seniors who don’t manage their stress levels well could develop serious illnesses, making it a challenge to care for themselves independently. If your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, the Allen live-in care professionals at Home Care Assistance are here to help. Our proprietary Balanced Care Method was designed to promote longevity by encouraging seniors to focus on healthy eating, regular exercise, mental engagement, and other important lifestyle factors.
4. Maintain Nutrition
Consuming foods rich in magnesium may lower stress levels in seniors. Encourage your loved one to eat magnesium-rich foods such as bananas and walnuts to alleviate anxiety, restore optimal sleep patterns, and support heart health. If your loved one is unable to eat nuts or bananas because of gastrointestinal issues or other conditions, ask the physician if your loved one can take a low-dose magnesium supplement. While magnesium supplements are considered safe when taken in low doses, they may interfere with certain medications. Also, high-dose magnesium supplements may lead to abdominal cramping and diarrhea.
5. Try Pet Therapy
Interacting with a dog or cat is an excellent way to lower stress in elderly individuals. Pet therapy is thought to play an important role in reducing anxiety and stress levels, and it may even lower blood pressure in hypertensive seniors. If your loved one is unable to care for a pet at home, schedule trips to the local animal shelter so he or she can interact with the animals. If your parent enjoys spending time at the shelter, he or she may want to consider volunteer opportunities.
Stress can result in mental, emotional, and physical challenges for aging adults, but seniors don’t have to manage them alone. In Allen, senior home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. To learn about our high-quality in-home care services, give us a call at (972) 548-0392 today.