Stress is normal– it’s the body’s response to challenging or dangerous situations. However, when stress levels don’t subside, the body and mind are uniquely impacted.
The reality is older adults are facing more chronic stress than ever before due to physical and mental changes, isolation, illness or death of loved ones, and many other factors. And it has a big impact!
Stress can cause:
Lowered Immune System
After a period of stress, our immune system can become weakened. As a result,
we get sick more easily.
Increased Chronic Pain & Intestinal Distress
Stress can cause our stomachs and intestines to become inflamed, leading to
troubles digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and general malaise.
Stress can lower our mood, impact sleep and impede concentration. It can also
negatively impact healthy coping mechanisms.
After time, chronic stress may even lead to a variety of conditions, such as:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Problems
- Dementia or cognitive decline
So, what can we do about stress?
Older adults can use the following Stress Busters to ensure that stress doesn’t become too overwhelming.
STRESS BUSTER #1 — Get moving!
Regular physical activity regulates our body and mind. It can improve brain health and memory while reducing stress and anxiety. Physical activity is also energizing and supports quality sleep.
Movement comes in many forms: water aerobics, walking, chair yoga, tai chi, gardening, and gentle stretching. Choose the ones you actually like so that you’ll stick with them! And, of course, be sure to chat with your healthcare provider about movements that are a good fit for you.
STRESS BUSTER #2 — Get Creative!
Creative expression reduces your stress levels because they help you process emotions while promoting a sense of harmony and well-being.
Consider what creative activities feel fun and give them a try! Some ideas include writing, drawing, quilting, making a craft, cooking, painting, building something…or even dancing! Choose an activity you loved as a kid, or try a new creative hobby today!
You’ll watch your stress dissolve while having some fun too.
STRESS BUSTER #3 — Get Connected!
Isolation elevates our stress levels. After all, we are social creatures!
Be intentional about connecting with friends or loved ones.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for support with household activities, cooking, or cleaning.
Keep in mind that a move to Assisted Living can eliminate the stressful burdens of home repairs, maintenance, snow/ice removal, and chores while also promoting connection and community. Residents make friends as they participate in a range of creative, wellness, and exercise programs.
STRESS BUSTER #4 — Get Support!
If your stress level is too high, remember you don’t have to navigate it alone. Speak with your healthcare provider about your concerns or consider finding a counselor or therapist.
Healthcare professionals are trained to help you build the skills, tools, and resilience you need to navigate life’s challenges.
Take steps to reduce your stress level today! Your mental and physical well-being will thank you.
Chatham Place at Mary Wade is dedicated to helping seniors stay safe, happy, and relaxed. Residents participate in art and pet therapy and excursions off campus. They also enjoy a fully equipped gym and creative activities led by our friendly team of professionals. We are committed to helping residents keep their stress levels in check so they can get more enjoyment out of life! Contact us to learn more.