Five Ways for Seniors to Reduce Stress

While stress is a normal part of life, it can have a negative impact on seniors.

As we age, we face a number of unique challenges, such as the transition from working to retirement, increasing health problems and the death of loved ones. These stressors can take a toll on our physical and mental health, and make it difficult to enjoy our golden years.

Why is reducing stress important for older adults?

Chronic stress can lead to a number of serious health problems for seniors, including:

Stress can also weaken the immune system, making it more difficult to fight off infection. Additionally, stress can accelerate the aging process itself. If you want to stay healthy and enjoy a vibrant retirement, it’s a good idea to look for ways to reduce stressors in your everyday life.

Older adults can reduce stress and live a more fulfilled and happy life with these five easy tips

1. Older adults can reduce stress by walking

It’s common knowledge that if your body feels better, so does your mind. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states, “Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins — chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers — and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.”

Joyful group of senior friends wearing warm clothes walking along park alley and chatting animatedly with each other, picturesque view on background

Our senior living communities offer many opportunities for our residents to take leisurely walks around the grounds. For example, The Waterford on Highland Colony, located in Ridgeland, Mississippi, features beautifully manicured grounds and a pergola in the courtyard to relax after a refreshing walk around the walking path. This community also offers outside patios, a gazebo, garden areas with scenic views and other welcoming places to reflect on the day.

In addition to landscaped walking paths at our communities, many residents enjoy getting together with their neighbors for daily or weekly walks as part of a walking club.

While walking helps reduce stress, it also has another health benefit as we age – the ability to maintain independence. Harvard Health says, “Older people who are physically more active and who exercise regularly are more likely to walk independently and do other activities of daily living on their own compared to sedentary elders.”

2. Meditation helps reduce stress in seniors

Meditation has been practiced for over a thousand years and most recently has been used as a source of stress relief and relaxation for people of all ages. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health.”

The elements of meditation that can help reduce stress in seniors include:

  • Relaxed breathing
  • Focused attention
  • A quiet setting
  • A comfortable position
  • Open attitude

Because we understand the importance of reducing stress in our residents throughout our senior living communities, many provide opportunities for seniors to participate in either daily or weekly guided meditation classes, including The Wellington at Southport, our community in Indianapolis, Indiana.

3. Get plenty of sleep to stay stress-free

According to the Sleep Foundation, “It’s common for older adults to experience changes in the quality and duration of their sleep. Many of these changes occur due to changes in the body’s internal clock.”

It’s not surprising that one of the reasons why sleep can be disrupted is due to stress, depression and anxiety. A few ways you can rest assured you will receive a good night’s rest is to abide by the following guidelines for great sleep:

  • Reduce bedroom distractions, including televisions, cell phones and bright lights that make falling asleep difficult
  • Avoid substances that impair sleep such as caffeine, alcohol and tobacco
  • Develop a bedtime routine. Some examples include a warm bath, reading or meditation

4. Surround yourself with animals for mental health benefits

Petting or playing with cats and dogs is immensely helpful for relieving stress. If you don’t have your own dog or cat to rely on to help you reduce stress in your life, volunteer at a local animal shelter. Here, many animals are yearning for playtime or having someone pay attention to them.

Harvard Health states, “Studies going back to the early 1980s support the idea that dogs—and other pets—have enormous health benefits for people. Pets have been shown to lower blood pressure and improve recovery from heart disease. Pets also improve people’s psychological well-being and self-esteem.”

5. Reduce stress by laughing!

Enjoying a good laugh every now and then is one of the easiest ways to manage and reduce your stress. After all, laughter is the best medicine. Surround yourself with others who have a great sense of humor – you never know, you may find yourself enjoying a belly laugh!

Consider a move to senior living

Residents of our Sonida Senior Living communities are afforded many opportunities to help reduce stress in their everyday lives. Everything from meditation and exercise classes, to therapists and counselors to talk with, to ample opportunity to make new friends.

If you want to schedule a tour at one of our independent living, assisted living or memory care communities, find a community near you.

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Psychologist sitting and touch hand depressed man for encouragement near window with low light environment.
Psychologist sitting and touch hand depressed man for encouragement near window with low light environment.

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If you’re a senior or caregiver looking for independent living, assisted living or memory care services for you or your loved one, contact us to schedule a tour or request information about a community near you.