Stress is a negative reaction to situations, people or certain things. Excessive stress over a period of time can cause many physical and mental problems in an elderly person. Try to understand the reason for their stress and then, to reduce their stress.
The reasons for stress for an elder may be changes in lifestyle, social status, and financial status after retirement. The elder may be always thinking about the past and may not be willing to accept the current situation.
One of the reasons causing stress to an elder can be the death of a loved one.
Caring for a sick relative or friend or seeing them suffer can also cause a lot of physical and mental stress for an elder.
Loneliness can be another reason for stress. An elder who stays alone or spends most of the time alone may be always sad and wish to be with children or relatives who no longer stay with them.
A terminal illness, disability, or deteriorating physical capabilities can restrict the ability of an elderly person. Due to the situation, an elderly person may constantly feel helplessness and dependent on others.
Elderly people may feel embarrassed and stressed when they are unable to use the latest devices as their children and grandchildren do. They may feel sad that they are unable to keep up with new technology.
Some elders may not like loud music, pets, and the behavior of children and grandchildren. Being disturbed by things they don't like, may cause stress to them.
Let us now look at the symptoms of stress. Always be alert for any signs or symptoms of stress in an elderly person, such as change of appetite, palpitation, sleeplessness, constant tiredness, depression, anxiety, frustration or restlessness, or frequent urination.
Let us now look at some ways to reduce stress. Encourage the elderly person to share their problems, emotions, and feelings either with relatives and friends or with you.
Talk to the elderly person's family and friends about the situation. Ask them to spend more time with the elder.
Try to make them happy by reducing things which may irritate them and motivate them to do things they like, such as listening to music, taking a stroll in the garden, or eating their favorite food item.
Share jokes with them to make them laugh. You can also tell them stories to distract them from their worries.
If possible, try alternative therapies, such as aromatherapy or massage therapy to make them relax.
Encourage and support their interests and beliefs, such as praying, reading books, or watching programs on television.