International Stress Awareness Week: How to recognise and manage stress amongst the elderly

The older we get, the more our health becomes more important. Now more than ever, stress awareness has played such a prominent role in our lives.

This year has seen a rapid increase of stress across all age groups following the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. New findings from the Mental Health Foundation revealed that more than eight in ten adults have experienced stress due to the COVID pandemic.

International Stress Awareness Week, which runs from 2nd-8th November recognises and aims to reduce the stress factors in individuals lives. Throughout the week, the project provides the opportunity to share tips on how to tackle stress for individuals who are struggling.

While we are proud to share that we have had no recorded COVID-cases here at Crouched Friars Residential Home, we have continued to work hard to maintain some sense of normality to help and reduce our residents’ stress through these unprecedented times.

Stress prevents itself in different ways for different people, below are just some of the signs that could signify your loved one may be feeling stressed.

  • Self-isolation – When elderly people become stressed often opt to isolate by themselves and tend to refuse to socialise within activities.
  • Memory issues – Stress tends to arise after increased forgetfulness of events.
  • Physical signs – After prolonged stress, elderly individuals can be susceptible to physical signs of stress that mainly include changes in sleeping patterns.
  • Changes in eating – A core sign of stress in the elderly can be changes in their eating habits, this can include over or loss of eating.
  • Mood swings – One of the main attributes of someone stressed is mood swings, which can take the form of irritability, sadness or depression.

Ways to support the elderly overcome stress during COVID-19

Stress is a natural part of life, but it does not mean that the elderly should be left to deal with it alone. Sometimes just by altering the simple and mundane tasks of everyday life can reduce the stress in those who struggle to manage it. We have included some ways to manage stress with the elderly:

Staying connected

Having a good support network around you, such as friends and family can greatly ease stress and can even help you see things in different ways. While face-to-face visits have been halted in many care homes, many elderly residents struggled with this, which increased their stress levels dramatically. With the power of technology, including apps such as Zoom and Skype, have shown to significantly reduce stress and risk of depression amongst the elderly. Video calls have helped our residents overcome the distance between loved ones this pandemic, allowing them to develop a sense of connection.

This November, we are debuting our new visitor lounge at Crouched Friars, allowing residents to reunite with loved ones once again in a warmer, safer and COVID-secure environment.

Getting up and about

Keeping active may not completely make stress disappear, but it will greatly reduce it by helping clear negative thoughts. It is recommended by the World Health Organisation that 65+ individuals should complete up to 150 minutes of physical activity in a week.

The findings from Mental Health Foundation showed that over half of UK adults have found visiting green spaces have helped overcome the stress of the pandemic. Throughout the pandemic there were times where residents were confined to their rooms. Now as we are able to integrate residents with one another, this has greatly helped decrease stress as residents are encouraged more now to explore the outdoors.

Get involved in a hobby

Stress often prevents people doing things they actually enjoy.  Art therapy has shown to be significant in decreasing stress, anxiety and depression in people from all age groups. Here at Crouched Friars we plan regular activities including art and craft sessions that allows our residents express how they feel through art instead of words that has proven to be a good distraction to clear their mind.

Adopt coping mechanisms

It’s easy to let stress dictate how you feel, try and reach out to someone and even adopt some coping mechanisms. Breathing is the biggest way to help reduce stressful feelings quickly, by simply using breathing techniques individuals can control any overwhelming thoughts.

Based in Colchester, Essex, we provide specialist support including dementia care, creating a safe environment for individuals to meet new friends and form wonderful and lifelong connections.

If you are interested in finding out more about Crouched Friars Residential Home, our friendly team would be happy to talk to you via 01359 230773 or if you fill out our contact form a member of our team will get in touch.

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