April is Stress Awareness Month and it’s a good time to talk with your senior parent about the stress that they’re under and how you and elder care can help them manage it. Many children don’t realize that their senior parents are under a lot of stress every day because they typically don’t talk about it. Sometimes they don’t recognize it, and sometimes they just don’t want to talk about it because they think that it’s not something that should be talked about.
But stress can have a big impact on a senior’s health. It can make existing health conditions worse, and increase the risk of a senior developing serious health problems like heart disease. Stress also can contribute to mental health problems like depression or anxiety. Some of the sources of senior stress that you might not be aware of include:
Loss Of Purpose
Seniors often struggle after they retire because they feel like they have lost their sense of purpose. For many seniors going to work every day was their purpose, and without their professional achievements they feel worthless. Even seniors who are enjoying their retirement can still feel stress about losing their routine, going to work every day, and feeling a sense of professional satisfaction at the end of the day.
Death Of A Loved One
If your senior parent has lost their spouse, a sibling, or someone else that was very important to them and a huge part of their lives that loss can cause major stress. All of a sudden your senior loved one could be alone without the comforting presence of someone that they had in their lives for decades, or possibly even all their lives in the case of a sibling. The grieving process is slow, painful, and extremely stressful for seniors. It can help to encourage your senior to get some professional help dealing with a major loss.
Loss Of Independence
Seniors worry quite a bit about losing their independence as they get older. That’s one of the reasons why so many seniors prefer to age in place. They want to live independently in their own homes. But health problems and mobility challenges can make it very difficult for seniors to keep up with housework, cooking, shopping, and household management.
Worry About The Future
Worrying about the future is another common source of stress for seniors. They worry about their health and what will happen if they get sicker. They worry about what will happen to you and they don’t want to be a burden. Everyone worries about the future, but you can help a senior parent worry less about the future by talking about it with them. Talk about their final wishes, and come up with a plan for the future so that they can feel more relaxed.
How Elder Care Can Help
Elder care can relieve a lot of stress for seniors. Elder care providers can come in and help seniors with the housework, shopping, and other tasks so that seniors can have the comfort and safety of living at home without having to do all the heavy lifting themselves. They can offer companionship, transportation and a friendly face on a regular basis that seniors can rely on. Elder care can also reduce stress for family caregivers and other relatives helping to care for a senior by offering dependable respite care.