Home Care Blog>In Home Care | February 2, 2017
Managing Stress in Seniors | When people think about stress, they may consider deadlines at work, screaming children, caring for a loved one who is sick, changes in relationships, or even their own health. The truth of the matter is that all of these could or could not be stressors, as each person responds to internal and external demands differently. What may cause one person to “become stressed” may not cause another person a moment’s pause or care. This is why it is important for each person to know their own stress triggers and for a home health aide to know the stress triggers of the senior for whom they are caring.
When a person becomes stressed, the body releases chemicals called cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine into the bloodstream. These chemicals, and the way the body reacts to them, determine the way a person responds to various incidents of stress. This means that it is not just important for the home health aide to understand a senior’s stressors, but they must also understand the way or ways in which they respond to their stress triggers.
The reason it is so important to understand stress is that it is associated with a plethora of negative health issues. These issues tend to become magnified with age. For example, WebMD notes, “Stress seems to worsen or increase the risk of conditions like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and asthma.” Stress has also been linked to “age-related atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, cancers and dementia, according to the National Institute of Stress.
A home care aide should not just understand what causes a senior’s stress, but they should know what helps to de-escalate stressful situations as well. For some seniors, soothing music may help them relax, while others may find the sounds of a harp or flute irritating. Studies have found that chronic senior stress can be reduced through pet therapy. In fact, just petting a dog typically lower the release of cortisol, increase the release of serotonin (the “feel-good” hormone), and lower blood pressure. Of course is the senior is allergic to the dog, this sort of pet therapy may not be the answer.
If you are concerned about the safety of your aging loved ones, especially in regard to fire, we can help. While it’s important to rely on the expertise of licensed professionals for certain precautions, we can provide home safety assessments and ensure your loved ones’ environment is safe.