Stress and Seniors


Photo Credit in References

Is there such a thing as good stress? Especially for Seniors? Most people think Seniors, especially the retired have it easy and do not deal with stress. It is true, a sector of Seniors don’t have stress related to a job, but, this does not mean the individual is stress free.


With the growing number of elderly opting to stay at home, Seniors (55 years old and up) are retiring to take care of ailing and aging parents. Others are working, while taking care of their family member. These situations can create stress….caregiver stress.

The blog article, “How You Can Tell the Difference Between Good Stress and Bad Stress” states:


“In general, good stress is short-term and pushes you to accomplish greater things. In these situations, you tend to have a lot of control over the outcome and the stress can motivate you. Bad stress can be short-term or long-term. Bad stress is often accompanied by feelings of helplessness because you don’t have a lot of control over what’s happening and you may begin to feel compressed or trapped.”[1]


When taking care of a loved one, a caregiver can feel trapped. Life may feel as if all control is gone. This stress called caregiver stress (defined as the emotional and physical strain produced by caregiving of an individual.[2]) can be detrimental


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The National Institute of Mental Health has reported that stress, if not dealt with, can lead to serious health conditions, such as:

· Heart Disease

· High Blood Pressure

· Diabetes

· Depression

· Anxiety


Research shows caregiver stress can cause other health issues, to include[3]:

· Higher level of stress hormones

· More sick days and weaker immune response

· Slower wound healing

· Higher level of obesity

· Higher risk for mental decline, including memory and attention issues


The article, “Caregiver Stress: Is It Time to Give Yourself A Break” shares,

“Caregiver stress appears to affect women more than men. About 75 percent of caregivers who report feeling very strained emotionally, physically, or financially are women. Although caregiving can be challenging, it’s important to note that it can also have its rewards. It can give you a feeling of giving back to a loved one. It can also make you feel needed and can lead to a stronger relationship with the person receiving care.”



Photo Credit in Reference

With this in mind, what can a caregiver proactively do to reduce caregiver stress? Don’t dismiss your feelings is the #1 thing for a caregiver. Second, because ‘bad’ stress is defined as feeling helpless and out of control, which caregiver stress has a tendency to do.


Let’s look at ways, we can be in control and not helpless while being a caregiver:


· Don’t traverse this care giving road alone

o Locate caregiving resources in your community

o Ask for and accept help


· Set realistic goals

o Write things down or use a Note or Reminder App in your phone

o Break tasks down. Clean one room instead of the whole house


· Make some time for yourself

o Don’t feel guilty for needing time for yourself

o Rest…this is more than sleeping it is re-energizing yourself

o Make time to eat

o Plan physical activity (i.e. exercise) both within and outside of your caregiving

o Give yourself permission to say “NO” to activities and duties which will overload your already full schedule


Only when you are at your best can you be the caregiver your loved one needs. This may include in-home respite care, such as a Personal Care Aide. Just remember: in taking care of yourself you are taking care of your loved one.


REFERENCES:

Reference: How You Can Tell Good Stress from Bad Stress

Accessed at: https://kimberlysnyder.com/blog/2014/03/21/can-tell-difference-good-stress-bad-stress/

Accessed on: August 16, 2018


Reference: NIMH: 5 Things You Should Know About Stress

Accessed at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml

Accessed on: August 16, 2018


Reference Photo One: Stress Graphic

Accessed at: http://elestudiodelafonologia.blogspot.com/2015/12/word-stress-rules-are-two-very-simple.html

Accessed on August 16, 2018


Reference Photo Two: Caregiver Stress Infographic

Accessed at: http://bayspoktersynch.gq/442524-quotes-caregiver-stress.html

Accessed on August 16, 2018


Reference Photo Three: Take Care of the Caregiver

Created by: Cardinal Institute for Health Careers

Accessed on August 16, 2018


Disclaimer: All information, content, and material of the Cardinal Institute for Health Career’s blog is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.

[1] https://kimberlysnyder.com/blog/2014/03/21/can-tell-difference-good-stress-bad-stress/


[2] https://www.alternativesforseniors.com/blog/caregiver-stress/


[3] https://www.alternativesforseniors.com/blog/caregiver-stress/

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