The Effects of Stress in Seniors
Written by Sally Perkins
As most of us know, stress is an inevitable part of life, regardless of one’s age. Even though stressors vary from financial situations to hurting family relationships, one thing that’s for sure is that it takes a toll on one’s physical, mental, and even spiritual health. What is more, the American Institute of Stress has estimated that 75 – 90 percent of doctor’s visits is linked to stress related problems.
New studies conducted at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh also reveal that stress can in fact be the cause of a number of physical and mental ailments such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, anxiety and depression. However, individually tailored treatments and lifestyle programs such as botanical medicine, hypnotherapy, holistic health care, and fellowship can ameliorate one’s condition and help individuals improve their lifestyle.
How Can Stress Deteriorate Seniors’ Health?
More often than not, aging brings a new set of problems, such as figuring out a retirement plan, lack of energy, decreased mobility, and memory problems, just to name a few. All of these can add a tremendous amount of stress to one’s daily life, which in turn can trigger a plethora of health problems, or exacerbate the existing ones. Some of the most common stress-related health issues in seniors include:
- Digestive issues, including overeating, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or loss of appetite.
- Having trouble falling and staying asleep, i.e. insomnia, which can consequently deteriorate one’s immune system, as the body can not get enough rest to recuperate.
- Breakouts, rashes, and loss of hair.
- And the most common of the symptoms - headaches.
The Negative Effects of Stress on Mental Health in Seniors
Brain health in seniors is of particular paramount importance, as the brain, and one’s mental, as well as spiritual health can mean the difference between a socially active individual, and one that in unable to engage and enjoy life with their loved ones. Common mental conditions such as depression or anxiety can result from stress, and can be easily overlooked in seniors. That is why caregivers and family members should pay close attention to their seniors’ mental well-being to ensure their psychological and spiritual welfare.
How Can Seniors Eradicate Stress from Their Life?
Depending on one’s personality, preferences, and physical capabilities, seniors can find rest in a variety of activities that can help reduce stress. Some of these activities include spiritual or Christian practices, such as listening to an encouraging sermon, or sharing their problems with a counselor, while physical activities may include peaceful walks in a serene environment, or going for a relaxing swim.
Stressors come in many forms, especially when one enters their golden years. However, it is a battle that can be won through practicing patience, and striving to emphasize the good things in life, which in turn will result in fewer physical ailments and a better-quality life.