Stress Management Tips for Seniors & Older Adults

January 25, 2022

As we get older and wiser, we’d like to think there’s less to worry about. Unfortunately, stress doesn’t go away with age. In fact, there are many sources of senior stress that are unique to old age. The most common sources are the loss of independence, figuring out finances, and health problems. As we all know, stress at any age affects our mental and physical health. The long-term effects of stress in old age can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Here are some ideas and tips to help older adults with stress management.

Get some laughs

When your loved one's feeling worried, try a little humor! Watch a sitcom or a funny movie, or recall a favorite silly event and talk about it. Even just a simple 'knock knock' joke can help lighten the mood and relieve stress. Here's a tip: Reader's Digest has a huge list of readers' favorite jokes, from one-liners to riddles.

Play with a furry friend

Give your senior parent some cuddle time with a pet or therapy animal. Studies show interacting with a cat or dog lowers blood pressure levels, and even helps ease depression and loneliness. Nearly all Enlivant communities are pet friendly, so visitors and resident pets are welcome!

Take deep breaths

It sounds so simple, but making an effort to sit, relax and take a few deep breaths every day is a great way to help manage senior stress. If your loved one’s interested, encourage them to try meditation - or even try it with them. There are online apps, like Headspace, that offer guided meditations and make learning the basic techniques of meditation easy.

Practice yoga

Research shows any form of exercise enhances health and quality of life for seniors. Yoga, in particular, is associated with stress relief. But the benefits of yoga aren't limited to managing stress; it also improves flexibility and balance, making it a fantastic exercise for seniors. Here are some simple poses you and your senior loved one can do together.

Jot it down

Sometimes the best thing to do for managing senior stress is to get it out and write it down. Writing a few sentences in a simple 'stream of consciousness' style can help put things into perspective and even inspire a solution. To make this easy, gift your loved one a small journal to keep with them for writing down their thoughts. A daily exercise focused on gratitude is a great place to start; encourage them to write down something they're thankful for every single day.

Listen to music

Music is a very effective tool for relieving senior stress. Seniors who listen to music are typically more relaxed, less anxious, and it can even help improve self-esteem. Incorporating music to help with managing stress can be as easy as introducing your senior to YouTube or making them a customized playlist on a music app of CD.

As you care for your loved one, keep these senior stress management tips in mind. If you sense your loved ones are worried about something, try one of these techniques to help them feel better. Some stress may require a doctor visit if your loved one is feeling frequently anxious or their stress levels are affecting their health in ways like disrupted sleep, heart palpitations, or indigestion.

Senior stress in older adults can be unique, but as with stress in any age group, there are resources, techniques, and tips to help manage it.

Discover how Enlivant community residents thrive, enjoying all the activities and services they need to lead a healthy and stress-free lifestyle.



Our assisted living communities offer so many resources to help seniors and their families manage stress, including visiting with other seniors at social events and open houses.


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Sources:
Mayo Clinic