They’re known as “the golden years” for good reason; growing older instills in us information from lessons learned during a lifetime, and the possibility to relax from the demanding pace of younger adulthood and make the time to truly savor what counts most.
Nonetheless, our senior years may also be a time of added stress, for a number of reasons. Health issues can increase in our older years. There is an increased probability of sadness from losing friends and family as they age, bringing along with it a reminder of our own mortality. Economic troubles could also be an issue.
So how are you able to identify stress in your loved one, and most importantly, help manage it? Look for these warning symptoms of senior stress:
- Withdrawing socially
- Loss of interest in formerly loved experiences
- A change in eating and sleeping habits
- Increased irritability, aggravation, or agitation
- Weight gain or loss
Additionally, your family member may share feelings of being weighed down or stressed by a specific part of life.
Step one in assisting a senior loved one with stress management is through making an appointment with the physician to eliminate any physical factors for these issues. A doctor may also want to suggest medication, even if just in the short term, to help the senior feel more relaxed.
Try these other stress management tips to improve a senior loved one’s outlook:
- Assist someone else. Almost nothing makes us feel more positive than knowing we are making a difference in the life of someone in need. Persuade your loved one to seek out a volunteer opportunity associated with a certain interest, such as assisting the homeless, animals at a pet shelter, victims of abuse, etc.
- Get up and get going. Exercise is beneficial for our mind and mood nearly as much as for our physical wellbeing. Go with a senior loved one to the fitness center, your nearby pool, or on a daily walk through the neighborhood.
- Organize an event. Having something interesting to look forward to is an easy pick-me-up. Brainstorm ideas of things a senior loved one has always planned to do, and set a goal to help make one or more of them a real possibility.
- Talk (or write) it out. See if your loved one might be open to speaking with a professional therapist for help with stress management; if not, journaling can be helpful in putting words to emotions and giving the chance for self-expression and the venting of built-up stress.
- Partner with Compassionate Nursing Services. Compassionate Nursing Services is always available to help with stress management for seniors in a variety of ways – from pleasant companionship to permit the senior the opportunity for increased socialization and engagement in enjoyable activities, to help with housework and meal preparation, errand-running, transportation, and much more.
Contact Compassionate Nursing Services, the leaders in at home care in St. Louis and the surrounding area, at 314-432-4312 to arrange an in-home assessment and find out more about how we can help manage senior stress and restore a sense of joy and wellbeing for your family member!