6 Ways To Manage Stress And Anxiety In Seniors
Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, explores six ways seniors can better manage stress and anxiety.
“As we age, life can bring its challenges and stressors,” says Murray Hewlett.
“Fortunately, seniors can incorporate various strategies and techniques into their daily routines to help manage stress and anxiety effectively.”
Common Reasons for Stress in Seniors
Factors that can contribute to higher levels of stress and anxiety in some seniors include:
- Health Concerns: More significant health issues arise when you get older, including chronic conditions and physical discomfort. These health concerns can be a source of stress and anxiety.
- Loss and Grief: Seniors often experience the loss of loved ones, including friends and family members. Coping with grief and adjusting to life changes can be emotionally challenging.
- Financial Worries: Managing finances in retirement or on a fixed income can be stressful, especially if unexpected expenses arise.
- Social Isolation: Seniors may become socially isolated due to retirement, physical limitations, or losing friends and family members.
- Changes in Independence: As individuals age, they may experience a loss of independence or need assistance with daily activities. This shift in lifestyle can lead to feelings of anxiety and loss of control.
- Cognitive Changes: Cognitive decline, including conditions like dementia, can be distressing both for seniors and their loved ones.
- Concerns About the Future: Seniors may worry about their future, including long-term care, end-of-life planning, and the burden they might place on their families.
- Medications: Some medications commonly prescribed to seniors can have side effects that contribute to feelings of anxiety or stress.
Ways For Seniors to Manage Stress and Anxiety
1. Stay Physically Active
Endorphins, naturally occurring mood enhancers that enhance well-being and lessen worry, are released when you exercise. Seniors can choose exercises that suit their fitness level and physical condition, such as walking, swimming, tai chi, or yoga.
Physical activity also offers seniors other health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, better sleep quality, and increased mobility.
2. Practice Relaxation Techniques
Seniors can consider incorporating relaxation techniques into daily routines, such as deep breathing and mindfulness meditation, to calm the mind. Deep breathing entails taking slow, deep breaths, while mindfulness meditation encourages focusing on the present moment. There are many resources available, including books, online videos, and classes, that can guide seniors in learning and practising these relaxation techniques.
3. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Nutrient-rich diets can improve mood and lower stress levels. Seniors should eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish and walnuts, can help stabilise mood. Whole grains include complex carbohydrates that can increase serotonin levels, which contribute to emotions of pleasure and well-being.
Caffeine and alcohol should be limited or avoided since they can worsen anxiety and significantly impair sleep quality.
4. Foster Social Connections
Maintaining social relationships is critical for seniors dealing with loneliness and social isolation. Seniors should maintain contact with friends and family in person or virtually. Joining social clubs, volunteering, or participating in group activities that align with personal interests can allow seniors to build new friendships and strengthen existing ones.
5. Seek Professional Help
Therapists and counsellors can offer helpful advice and assistance in dealing with stress and anxiety. Therapy may provide seniors with a secure environment to share their feelings, develop coping methods, and gain insight into the underlying reasons for their stress and worry. Medication administered by a healthcare practitioner may be required in some circumstances to ease symptoms and enhance general well-being.
6. Maintain a Structured Routine
A planned daily routine can create a feeling of stability and predictability, which can help alleviate stress and anxiety. Seniors should set aside time for regular mealtimes, exercise, social engagements, and sleep. A schedule not only helps seniors keep organised but also allows them to make time for things they like and find significant.
About Affinity Health
Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health coverage provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.