What is Stress Awareness Month About?
Most people realize that stress isn’t good for the body in big doses, but did you know that prolonged stress can actually affect a person’s health? Also, elderly adults are more susceptible to the health effects of chronic stress than other age groups.
April is Stress Awareness Month and many organizations dedicated to elderly adults are promoting awareness of too much stress and how it can affect seniors. They are also providing family caregivers with information on how to help their loved ones better manage any stress to reduce the lasting health effects.
How Stress Works
People are faced with challenges every day, and the brain reacts to each situation by setting off an internal alarm. It signals the release of stress hormones that flood the body and provoke a physical reaction. This includes faster breathing, a more rapid heartbeat, raised blood pressure and a release of energy to the muscles. After the challenge has passed, the body returns to a more relaxed state.
However, when people are frequently stressed, this constant flood of hormones can put a lot of wear and tear on the body. Over time, negative health effects include a weaker immune system, high blood pressure, heartburn, indigestion, depression, anxiety, poor memory and a greater risk of heart disease. When elderly adults are already struggling with certain health issues, chronic stress can really interfere with healing and health.
Managing Stress in Elderly Adults
The good news about stress in elderly adults is that much of it can be reduced and managed so that it doesn’t harm their bodies and minds. Family caregivers and their aging loved ones should try to identify all the areas that are causing stress.
Typically, causes include financial issues, loss of physical ability for self-care, loss of driving privileges, fear of moving to a retirement home, loss of a spouse or other loved ones, and chronic illness or pain. y removing or reducing as many sources of stress as possible, family caregivers can provide some relief for their aging relatives.
For example, if an elderly relative is overly worried about their declining physical abilities and they struggle to do housekeeping and cooking, family caregivers can hire a home care assistant. With a home care assistant, elderly adults can depend on a compassionate professional to step in and take over daily tasks that are no longer possible for them.
Many stresses cannot be removed, such as chronic illnesses or the loss of a spouse. In these events, family caregivers can help their aging relative manage the stress effectively. One of the most common stress relief techniques includes interacting a strong support group of family, friends, clergy, home care aides, therapists, doctors and more. Other stress-busters include exercise, proper sleep, owning a pet, soothing music, humor, meditation, volunteering and in extreme cases, medication.
Ultimately, family caregivers should investigate any action that reduces unnecessary stress in their elderly relatives. Proper stress management positively affects their health and will certainly make their golden years more enjoyable.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Personal Care Homes in Terrell Hills, TX, for companionship and socialization, please contact the caring staff at Barberry Ridge Home Health. Call (412) 536-1871