Learn & Grow/Health & Wellness/Combating Stress and Anxiety in Seniors | A Holistic Approach to Your Wellness
Health & Wellness

Combating Stress and Anxiety in Seniors | A Holistic Approach to Your Wellness

Knowing which tactics and lifestyle modifications work best for minimizing the harmful effects of stress and anxiety is a life-long challenge, prone to changing with your unique circumstances. It’s important work, and that can create benefits throughout every facet of your life – including your physical health.

When it comes to seniors and stress, there’s a particularly troublesome Catch-22: The more you stress, the more vulnerable you become to illness, because stress can dampen your immune response.

How can we help reduce stress and anxiety in seniors, whether for ourselves or a loved one? One way is to address stress at its source, which may be unique to each individual — such as a physical condition, disability, personal loss, or outside factors like harsh climates. However, it’s not always possible to eliminate stressors like these, which means that finding the best stress relief for seniors is often through practices we can control, including how we respond to our situations. Let’s look at how we can reduce stress and anxiety that originate from both of these sources

a senior woman talking on the phone

How To Reduce Senior Stress And Anxiety From An Identifiable Source

If you or a loved one is struggling with a particular source of stress and anxiety, you may be able to introduce solutions that can lessen or resolve the problem. Consider how each of the factors below may contribute to the stress and anxiety of everyday life.

Overall lifestyle. What is a typical day or month like for you? Are your physical surroundings easy to navigate, or are you struggling with obstacles like stairs, clutter, home maintenance, shopping, or personal finances? Are you feeling isolated and disconnected from people and activities? A positive change in living conditions can go a long way toward reducing many of the factors that are causing your stress and anxiety.

Sense of independence. Closely tied to how and where you’re living is how you feel about it. Are you able to do the things you want to do? Are the activities of normal living becoming a growing source of worry and anxiety? Does your situation truly allow you to be independent? If the answer to any of these questions is no, adjustments to your living environment and community can help.

General level of health. The physical changes from growing older and the limitations they impose are another common source of stress—and feeling anxious only makes these problems worse. These difficulties can also introduce psychological challenges that stand in the way of an older adult’s best life. Again, introducing lifestyle changes may help correct these issues and lead to a better level of overall health.

a senior woman practicing yoga alone in her senior apartment

Helping Seniors Reduce Stress From The Inside Out

Relaxation techniques can be practiced at home. Practicing them regularly may help empower you to live a less stressful life, despite outside pressures and limitations. If your goal is to reduce stress and anxiety for yourself or a  loved one, you should consider introducing these stress management activities.

Yoga for seniors. With its series of postures and controlled breathing exercises, yoga helps ease anxiety in the body and the mind. It can be adapted and modified — as with chair yoga for seniors — to accommodate nearly any individual limitation, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Hatha yoga, in particular, is a good stress reliever because of its slower pace and easier movements.

Meditation for seniors. This powerful stress reliever can instill a sense of calm, peace, and balance that can benefit a senior’s emotional well-being and overall health. Guided meditation, deep breathing exercises for seniors, visualization, and other forms of meditation can be practiced anywhere at any time.

Exercises for seniors. Whether at home or in a more social setting, the benefits of exercise and physical activity for older adults include improving health and motivation, enhancing balance and coordination, improving sleep patterns, and more — all of which help ease stress and anxiety.

New hobbies for seniors. This could be almost anything, starting right at home. Painting, gardening, taking photographs, experimenting with a musical instrument, online language lessons, tracing the works of a single classical composer, quilting, mastering a tablet computer, learning to play chess — anything that captures the interest of your loved one.

Outdoor activities for seniors. Fresh air and feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin can revitalize your spirit and help dissolve stress and worry.

Setting new goals for seniors. It’s never too late to create a new purpose. Dreams backed by action drive us forward. Think through new possibilities for fun and fulfillment. Then step forward toward these new goals, leaving stress and anxiety behind.

a senior woman dancing and smiling in her independent living apartment

Helping Seniors Build A Defense Against Stress Bolsters Resiliency

Life can be stressful, especially for older adults adapting to the challenges of aging. The key is learning how to cope. Whether you’re helping your loved one or taking charge of your own resiliency, you can create the circumstances that support healthy stress management every day.

Craft a Vibrant Senior Lifestyle and Manage Your Stress at Querencia

Querencia at Barton Creek can help guide your path to better wellness. Our community has been named a Center for Successful Aging by the nationally renowned Masterpiece Living® initiative. The culture of senior wellness here offers innumerable options for you or your senior loved ones to lead a healthy, stress-free lifestyle. You can find more helpful information about staying active at home here. And if higher levels of senior health services are ever needed, they’re available on campus as well. Querencia is here to help. Reach out to us with questions and begin your journey to relaxed senior living today.

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