The elderly face stress from various situations, which are different from those that are faced by adults. They are at a stage in life where they may face extended and critical health problems. They may lose a spouse and feel lonely and alone. They may have retired and therefore be forced to make a change in their living conditions and financial management.
Stress is augmented further by the fact that the ability of the elderly people to face stressful situations weakens over time. In spite of all the challenges that they may have faced during old age some of their systems that react and help in stress management are no longer as efficient as they were. The process of aging wears of the brain in some way and the response to stressful situations is far from adequate at times.
The various situations that can cause stress in older people can be related to:
- Caring for a sick spouse
- Loosing a spouse
- Death of other relatives and friends that one may have been close to
- Reducing physical strength and a realization that one is not as fit and strong as one used to be
- Worries about finances after retirement and the fear of institutionalization
- No one to talk to and a feeling of dejection at being dependent on someone
All these can cause a lot of harm to self-esteem and send confidence levels spiraling down to abysmal levels. For those who have been independent and led a respectable life, it can be extremely stressful. Even though the events and situations that cause stress may be different for the elderly, the techniques that one can use are similar.
Here are some stress management tips for elderly:
The elderly can form a group where they can share their feelings about their life and the problems that they face with other elderly people. They should involve themselves in some activity that brings them in contact with other people like them who can share similar experiences. Opening out about emotions can help relieve stress to a large extent.
Leading an active social life where you draw out activities for the day for yourself can ensure that you are busy all the time. You could join a volunteer group and help the needy. You could join a club and play golf or go to the gym for regular exercise. Trying to create a passion for yourself after you retire can surely help you to keep yourself busy. The thing that you may decide to take on may not need a lot of money but should definitely be interesting enough o keep you involved.
Ensure that you entertain only positive thoughts and shun any kind of self-pity. Avoid resorting to smoking and drinking since they are not solutions in themselves but only avoidance techniques that are harmful in the long run. Try meditation, yoga or breathing exercises when you feel you are stressed out and need to relax. Nutrition plays a crucial role in managing stress. Hence make sure you follow a balanced and wholesome diet.
Understand that you also need adequate rest and relaxation and do not try and do more than what you body allows. Don’t push yourself to achieve what you could during your youth and accept that fact that you are older now and age gracefully.