We picture seniors on the golf course or ladies laughing at lunch. What stress could there be when you are retired? Ask any senior dealing with medical issues, insurance bills, Medicare statements, or caring for an ill spouse. The golden years are not always so golden.
My own mom readily admits that she does not handle stress like she used to. I’ve heard many other seniors admit the same. Why? Physically, heart and lung capacity may be decreased so the body is slower to recover. Too much stress through the years can throw hormone levels out of balance. Stress hormones may be harder to regulate, produce more than “required” and take longer to shut down. According to studies, women are three times more prone to this hormone overload as they age.
Many seniors complain about not sleeping well. Inadequate sleep prevents the body from fully recovering and worsens our emotional response. Our emotional rebound may be hampered by the lack of social outlets. The result of too much stress may be more “senior moments”, increase the risk of dementia, and speed up the aging process.
What can we do?
- Exercise! It increases endorphins, the feel-good hormones. It is great for heart and lung health and will help you sleep more soundly. Exercise is such a great all-around benefit, make it a priority.
- A positive outlook is a simple but incredibly effective way of fighting stress. A friend always says, don’t have a great day, MAKE it a great day. There really is power in a positive attitude. Cultivate gratitude every day, even for the little things in your life.
- We do not have to do everything exactly the same as we did when we were in our thirties. Picking on my mom, she is still incredibly active. I have access to her calendar online and she is busier than I am. She schedules too many things then stresses how she will get everything done. Stop, prioritize. If your huge house is too much to keep up with? Downsize.
- Stay social. No matter what age, you still need “girlfriends” or “pals” to talk to. Laughing, venting, sharing with family and friends helps let stress out and increases our mental well-being.
At Seniors Helping Seniors we often help seniors take a little bit of stress out of their lives. By taking a few tasks away, we lighten the load. We provide companionship as we work through our duties and stay positive and uplifting, hoping to be a bright spot in a senior’s day. If we can take a little stress from you or someone you love, please call! 321-722-2999
This article was printed in the Helping Seniors of Brevard County Newsletter, conveniently tucked inside Senior Scene Magazine!