How Does Stress Affect Elderly People?

What Are the Effects of Stress on Seniors?

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Feelings of anxiety can cause the muscles to tighten and lead to poor circulation, disrupting mental, physical, and emotional health. Therefore, you should find effective ways to manage your aging loved one’s stress and enhance his or her mood. Continue reading to learn how stress affects seniors and ways to alleviate stress in your loved one’s life.

 

Decreased Brain Health

Stress can kill brain cells and prevent the organ from functioning normally. As a result, your loved one could experience confusion, memory problems, and slower reaction speeds. To reduce your loved one’s stress levels, encourage him or her to do brain-stimulating activities, such as arts and crafts, cooking, dancing, gardening, or volunteering. 

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. Families can rely on Assisting Hands Home Care to provide individualized care plans to meet their elderly loved ones’ unique care needs. Our caregivers help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and we offer mentally stimulating activities that can boost cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia.

 

Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Issues

Too much stress can increase adrenaline levels in the body, putting your loved one at higher risk for a heart attack or stroke, two conditions that account for a large percentage of hospital readmissions and deaths among older adults. Seniors who experience cardiovascular problems are at higher risk for developing other health conditions, such as diabetes. Find ways to boost your loved one’s heart health, including socialization, physical activity, and healthy lifestyle habits. 

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 you have a senior loved one who needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care Columbia families can trust. Our caregivers help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and we offer mentally stimulating activities that can boost cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. 

 

Inadequate Sleep

Insomnia is one of the top issues associated with stress. Anxiety makes it difficult to fall asleep and prevents the body from clearing out dangerous toxins at night, which could slow your loved one’s metabolism and prevent him or her from getting the necessary physical and mental activity throughout the day. You can enhance your parent’s sleep quality by encouraging him or her to wind down before bedtime and creating a calm environment that reduces stress. For example, your loved one could play soothing music, take a warm bath, and avoid heavy eating when getting ready for bed each night. 

 

Weakened Immunity

Stress prevents the immune system from fighting against harmful toxins and bacteria, which increases the chances of developing an infection or contracting a virus. Cortisol is a stress hormone that suppresses the effectiveness of the immune system and makes seniors more susceptible to illnesses. To manage stress and boost the immune system, your parent should do meditation activities such as yoga and tai chi, which reduce inflammation and lower cortisol production. 

 

Blurred Vision

Too much anxiety in the body can lead to blurred vision, which can occur when stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol affect the blood vessels and impair visuospatial function. Failing to control stress levels could lead to long-term anxiety and chronic eye strain. However, your loved one can reduce stress by committing to a regular exercise routine each week. Walking, yoga, swimming, and dancing are physical activities that increase the body’s production of feel-good endorphins and reduce the levels of stress hormones. 

Stress can result in mental, emotional, and physical challenges for aging adults, but they don’t have to manage them alone. In Columbia, elderly home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Assisting Hands Home Care, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. Our caregivers encourage seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. Call one of our Care Managers today to learn about our customized in-home care plans.