6 Effects of Stress on Seniors

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Stress is a negative reaction in the body that can lead to serious health conditions for aging adults. Seniors need to effectively manage their stress levels and search for positive ways to enhance their quality of life as they grow older. Here are some of the ways stress impacts seniors and what you can do as a family caregiver to manage these effects.

1. Increases the Odds of Heart Conditions

The stress seniors experience from being anxious can aggravate the heart and increase the risk of a stroke or heart attack. The extra amounts of adrenaline raise the heart rate and blood pressure. However, healthy habits can decrease stress in older adults and have a positive impact on blood pressure, heart rate, and the arteries. To calm the body and enhance their overall wellbeing, seniors should stay socially active, eat a well-balanced diet, and exercise regularly. 

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 elderly home care. Brampton 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. Leads to Depression

The stress from losing a loved one or the loss of independence can be overwhelming for seniors. Help your loved one learn how to manage loss as well as any cognitive changes he or she experiences. Seniors can sign up for counseling sessions or join senior support groups to receive companionship and advice that helps them combat loneliness, fear, and other negative emotions.

3. Causes Obesity

High levels of stress can drive up your parent’s appetite and cause him or her to overeat. Stress eating typically includes unhealthy foods like sweet treats, processed meats, bad carbohydrates and fats, and sugary beverages. To lower your loved one’s stress levels, find fun activities he or she can participate in. Hobbies can relax the mind and prevent seniors from turning to food as a source of comfort.

4. Impacts Memory

Too much stress can lead to acute and chronic changes in the brain, causing long-term damage like memory loss. Provide your loved one with a sense of purpose. For example, you can enlist your loved one’s help with a home improvement project or any other purposeful activity that increases his or her sense of belonging within the home.

5. Damages the Immune System

Stress can cause digestive activity to escalate in older adults, increasing the risk of ulcers. It can also make seniors more vulnerable to the flu and other health issues, as stress increases blood pressure and puts a strain on the immune system. To minimize the amount of cortisol (a stress hormone) released throughout the body, seniors need to maintain good exercise routines that include activities like yoga and tai chi to relax their minds and bodies. Seniors should also avoid smoking and using other tobacco products. 

Seniors who don’t manage their stress levels well could develop serious illnesses, making it a challenge to care for themselves on their own. If your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, the Brampton 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.

6. Negatively Affects Oral Health

Stress can cause seniors to grind their teeth or clench their jaws when they feel upset and nervous. As a result of these bad stress management habits, older adults may be at a higher risk of oral health issues. To prevent fractures and cavities, your loved one should practice good oral care and find ways to manage stress, such as getting a massage, taking a warm bath, or going for a stroll through the neighborhood.

Stress can result in mental, emotional, and physical challenges, but seniors don’t have to manage them alone. In Brampton, senior 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 create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call Home Care Assistance at 905-951-8885 today.