As a family caregiver, you’re probably well acquainted with stress. You may experience stress because of your job, financial issues, and your caregiver duties. In the midst of your own stress, you may be unaware that your elderly parent is also affected by stress of their own. Helping them to manage their stress can protect them from a lot of health problems, including heart problems.
Stress and Heart Health
There are many things that can cause stress in older adults. Though their responsibilities for work and raising children are over, new causes of stress may appear. Seniors may worry about chronic health conditions, reduced finances because of retirement, and a fear of losing their independence.
According to the American Heart Association, stress may affect some of the behaviors a person engages in. For example, someone who is under stress might eat more than they should or make unhealthy food choices to comfort themselves. Stress can also have an impact on other risk factors for heart disease, like blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Stress causes the body to release a hormone called adrenaline, which leads to a “fight or flight” response. Breathing and heart rate accelerate, and blood pressure goes up. In some situations, that can be a good thing because it lets the body respond quickly to protect itself in a dangerous situation. However, when stress is chronic, the body remains in the “fight or flight” state for long periods of time, which can lead to high blood pressure and damage the walls of arteries.
Tips for Managing Stress
Stress management is an important part of keeping your older family member healthy. There are many techniques and practices that can help to lower blood pressure. Among them are:
- Meditation: Studies show that meditating not only reduces stress but protects from future stress. People who meditate regularly often respond better to stressors, which can mean their “fight or flight” response isn’t triggered as easily.
- Positivity: Maintaining a positive attitude can help seniors to accept that there are some things beyond their control, which can cause them to worry less. Positivity may also lead to them managing conditions because they believe things will turn out in their favor.
- Yoga: Yoga has both physical and mental benefits. It is a combination of poses and controlled breathing that encourages the senior to focus on something other than their worries.
- Healthy Lifestyle: Eating a balanced diet and getting enough exercise improves overall health, giving the older adult a sense of control and reducing stress.
Home care can assist your aging relative to practice stress management techniques. If the senior takes a yoga class, the home care provider can drive them to it. Home care providers can also foster a positive attitude by reminding the senior of the many things they have to be grateful for, such as caregivers who look out for them. In addition, a home care provider can help improve your aging relative’s lifestyle by cooking healthy meals for them and helping them to be more active around the house.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Statesville, NC, please call the professional staff at Caring at Heart today at (704) 379-7510. Serving Charlotte, Statesville, Ballantyne, Mooresville, Huntersville, Matthews, Concord, Gastonia, Pineville and Indian Trail
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