While stress is a common complaint among people of all ages, seniors may be especially susceptible to its effects. Stress needs to be recognized and managed quickly because it can lead to both physical and psychological problems. Here are some ways stress can diminish your senior loved one’s quality of life.
1. Eating Disorders
Your loved one may develop unhealthy eating habits if he or she is unable to manage stress. Overeating may lead to obesity, which can raise the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, joint pain, immobility, and circulation problems. Not eating enough may lead to nutritional deficiencies, weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, hair loss, and skin problems. If you notice changes in your loved one’s eating habits, make an appointment with his or her physician, who may refer your loved one to a nutritionist.
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 your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, the Lincoln, CA, live-in care professionals at Home Care Assistance are here to help. Our proprietary Balanced Care Method was designed to promote longevity by encouraging seniors to focus on healthy eating, regular exercise, mental engagement, and other important lifestyle factors.
Stress can lead to insomnia, which is thought to be a risk factor for anxiety and depression. If you believe stress is making your loved one depressed, seek treatment from a mental health professional. Simply talking about stress can relieve some of its symptoms. However, if talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy fails to relieve your loved one’s depression, he or she may benefit from antidepressant medication. Antidepressants can enhance mood and help with managing stress.
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 at-home care. Lincoln families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
3. Social Isolation
Seniors may feel as though they’re not “good company” and decline invitations to dinner and other social events. The combination of stress and social isolation may even impair cognitive functioning, which could lead to poor decision-making, memory loss, and even anger. Social isolation and stress may also lead to decreased immunity and a higher risk of infections.
4. Disinterest in Personal Hygiene
Seniors may become so overwhelmed by stress that they lose interest in their own personal hygiene, which may result in unwashed hair, body odor, long or dirty fingernails, and poor oral hygiene. If you notice these signs, ask your loved one if he or she is feeling stressed, anxious, worried, sad, or depressed. If your loved one is too overwhelmed by stress to bathe, assist him or her with hygiene issues.
5. Poor Health
Stress can also worsen chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure, chest pain, gastrointestinal problems, and insomnia. It can also raise blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, raising the risk for severe hyperglycemia. Seniors who are living with stress may also forget to take their prescription medications and even stop going to their doctors. It’s essential that aging adults get the help they need to manage stress so they can enjoy their senior years and look forward to a bright future.
Stress can result in mental, emotional, and physical challenges for aging adults, but seniors don’t have to manage them alone. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. Call us today at (916) 226-3737 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.