How to Manage Stress and Anxiety for Seniors

As we go through life, it’s natural to experience some stress and anxiety. Therefore, it’s vital that we learn stress management skills so that we can take care of ourselves and others and continue enjoying life to the fullest. These skills, however, can be more difficult for older adults to practice. Whether your senior loved one is experiencing a loss, a change in environment or routine, chronic else, or something else, seniors need to continue managing their stress levels, as chronic stress can lead to serious physical health issues in adults, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.

There are plenty of things that you and your senior loved one can do to manage their stress levels in their life. But, before we share, make sure you familiarize yourself with how stress manifests in your body– the more you know about how you handle stress, the more you can create a tailored plan to help manage it.

Here are some of our best tips on how to manage stress and anxiety in seniors:

  • Exercise. Physical exercise can positively affect our brain, which is where stress originates. Adults taking part in regular, low-impact exercise have shown improved memory and reduced stress levels compared to adults who do not. Researchers stress that exercise does not have to be high impact; try a daily walk or something aerobic, or even try walking to complete your errands. Anything low-cost and accessible can make a significant difference, even if it’s not considered “formal” exercise!
  • “Body Manipulation.” Physical and mental “body manipulation” can be a therapy for many seniors. Think yoga, Tai Chi, or even a massage– all these therapies, exercises, and stretches can significantly reduce stress levels. They can also lower your blood pressure, release endorphins, and improve conditions such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. As these are slow, quiet activities, also seniors enjoy the increased sense of mindfulness they experience.
  • Socialize. Seniors tend to isolate themselves from others, especially as some become more physically incapable of moving around and seeing other people. Because of this, some of the stress seniors may feel may be from the lack of social activity and sense of community they feel from being around others. It’s important that seniors do their best to find time to build that community and connect with others to prevent any unhappiness that may result from isolation. Join clubs, go for walks, or attend local events with other seniors to help resolve this common issue.
  • Diet. What you put into your body can also affect your stress levels. Diets high in sugar and fat are bad for brain health and negatively impact energy levels. Instead, aim for meals low in carbohydrates and healthy saturated fats – this often means fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, poultry, eggs, and nuts.
  • Hobbies. Engage in some holidays that can stimulate cognitive function, improving concentration while simultaneously releasing endorphins and oxytocin, the hormones that can affect your happiness and anxiety levels. Music and art are great ways to get in touch with your creative side while also giving you another outlet to socialize with other seniors (joining a choir, an art class, etc.). Puzzles and knitting are other great hobbies for seniors as they can distract from anything overwhelming in your life.

Addington Place at East Lake is a vibrant senior living community in Tarpon Springs, Florida. With chef-inspired meals, compassionate staff available to serve you 24 hours a day, and engaging social activities, our residents live fulfilling lives with the comforts of assisted living. Visit our website to learn more, or call us at (727) 761-3141 for more information!