Senior Stress Strategies

A weekly feature for Lumby, Cherryville, and area seniors. For more information about any of the following please contact Colleen or Jenny at (250) 547-8866 Whitevalley Community Resource Centre Office (250) 547-8866, Saddle Mountain Drop In (778) 930-0509. Funding support provided by Interior Health, the Province of British Columbia (Community Gaming), United Way Southern Interior and United Way Lower Mainland.

Stress does not just automatically disappear just because you’ve retired.  The daily grind can be tough, even if you are not punching a work time clock.  In fact, according to a recent study from the Calgary Foundation, up to 90 percent of Canadian senior citizens feel that they are subjected to daily stress issues. For example; major life transitions such as moving or downsizing, medical conditions, caregiving, quarantining or finances can be only some of the life experiences weighing heavily on the elderly.

It is important to recognize that not all stress is terrible as it often motivates positive steps and goals but chronic, long term exposure to stresses can really affect older adults and can easily exacerbate mental or physical health issues.  Stress can play havoc on both a body and brain, especially in the aging population.  

If this resonates with you, think about trying some simple everyday strategies to dial down stress or improve your capacity to withstand it.

Recharge: Take breaks and let yourself relax throughout each day.  That might look differently to every individual; from turning off your phone/computer, finding a quiet spot to practice calm or enjoying a favourite program or book.

Stay connected: Social distancing has been making staying connected more challenging but interacting with friends and family is healthy and there are many ways to achieve this while still being safe. Often when seniors have people to connect and share with, they find more meaning and purpose in life. 

Get physical: Any amount of exercise and movement a body can get is better than none.  Physical activity leads to the creation of new neurons that can, in turn, boost brain functions such as attention and memory, making it effective in reducing stress. 

Make some diet changes: Some of us reach for a glass of alcohol or a rich, fatty comfort food when we are dealing with daily anxiety.  If not taken in moderation, caffeine, booze and sweets will exacerbate stress levels as well as create health problems,. 

Pursue a passion: It’s never too late to start something new.  Learn to paint, play an instrument, reading, knitting or even volunteering. Activities that one enjoys can cut stress levels significantly and be rejuvenating. There is also evidence that suggests that being involved in hobbies may lower the likelihood of developing dementia in later life. 

Talk with your doctor: If feeling of stress, sadness and anxiety are with you most of the time, for weeks on end, it may be time to check in with a family physician and ask for some extra help. 

For more information on senior services and supports, call Whitevalley Community Resource Centre 250-547-8866.

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