Stress is on the rise in every age group—including seniors. What you do with the stressors in life can directly impact your overall health, so seniors who learn stress management techniques may enjoy a longer, healthier life, and be more resilient when worry hits.
At The Parke Assisted Living, we understand that seniors can get overwhelmed. Relationships, finances, loss of independence, and inevitable changes can all lead to stress that seniors can either absorb, or channel. At The Parke Assisted Living, we provide beautiful, dignified assisted living for Tulsa seniors. Our activities department offers something for everyone, including constructive ways in which to manage stress.
What causes stress in the life of a senior?
- Loss of a loved one
- Decline in health
- Change in mobility
- The need for assistance in daily life
Signs seniors are stressed
- Mood swings
- Memory trouble
- Decreased concentration
- Poor judgment
- Sleep disruption
- Social withdrawal
- Weight change
Practice gratitude daily
Life is full of changes, and stress can impact us, even in our elderly years. Endeavor to have a positive outlook on life and find something to be thankful for on a daily basis, and you’ll handle stress more easily.
Here are some activities to help seniors manage stress:
1. Face the Facts
Pinpoint what it is that is bothering you. What is causing the stress in your life? What can you do about it? What is out of your hands regarding it? Know the root of your concerns, and you’re on your way to managing or removing it. Write down what it is that causes you stress, and look for ways to work through it. Talk to a counselor if you need help managing worry.
2. Get Moving
Exercise is a natural anxiety reducer, so even in senior years, it’s smart to get moving on a daily basis. Make it your aim to walk or do another form of gentle exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Exercise boosts your mood, so find something you enjoy—like dancing, or yoga, or an exercise class—and get moving on a daily basis.
When you spend time with family and friends, stress decreases. Social connections lighten the load when things are difficult, and multiply the joy when things are good. Don’t wait for others to invite you to get together; ask a friend to lunch. Go to a movie with a loved one. Read a book with your grandchildren. Take a pottery class; gather with various generations for variety in your life.
Engaging your mind can help you to stop fixating on the stressors in your life. Find a community college or local university, and take a class each semester. Take a master gardening class, learn a musical instrument, or learn to ballroom dance—you’ll be surprised how your perspective will change.
Try something new—like a new dish at your favorite restaurant, or a new flavor of ice cream at your favorite ice cream shop. Take a walk on Main Street, and see how the landscape has changed. Volunteer at your church or at a local charity; when you get your eyes off yourself and onto helping others, your problems seem to diminish. Take up a new hobby. Switch up your daily routine.
Learn some simple deep breathing exercises to relieve tension and help you relax, no matter where you are or what is going on in your life. Take a yoga class to minimize stress and to inoculate you from future stressors.
A good belly laugh can help you manage stress. Take a lighter look at things, and realize that laughter really does do you good—like a medicine! Watch some old, funny movies on purpose, and let the laughter roll. Gather some friends and play a good game of cards, a board game, or simply visit together. You’re sure to enjoy some good laughs in the process.
Do some brain exercises daily to help you increase your focus and concentration. Get your mind off your stressors and onto how to solve a crossword puzzle, a brain game, or an online game.
Never stop enjoying the adventure of reading—it takes you to new places. Find a great book at the library and a cozy chair to relax in, and enjoy a great read. Join a book club to discuss various books you read with others.
10. Get out
Sunshine can boost your mood, no matter where you are in life. Get outside at least 30 minutes a day, as early as possible, and enjoy some sunshine.
11. Get a pet
A dog really can be your best friend at times, so consider adopting a dog, cat, or bird to care for and enjoy. There’s something therapeutic about petting a dog, and caring for him or her. Pets are known to decrease stress, lower blood pressure, combat loneliness and depression, and provide comfort and companionship.
Dogs and cats live in the present; they don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow, and that can rub off on us in a good way. Pets provide loving companionship for seniors and help seniors pivot their focus off their difficulties or aging and onto something positive. Some animal shelters even offer reduced adoption fees for older adopters.
12. Cognitive Restructuring
Learn to look at things in different ways to decrease stress. Find something positive in every situation. Work through difficulties with a counselor if necessary, and you may just find that your stress response triggers less often.
Managing stress is something seniors can learn to do, and participating in the above activities can help bring balance and joy to one’s life.
Plan ahead to visit us at The Parke Assisted Living at a time when an activity is planned, and join in the fun. Meet the residents and observe how respectful and caring our staff is. Contact The Parke Assisted Living for a tour and a free lunch—on us.