La Jolla Senior Care News

How Stress Can Affect Seniors’ Health

As seniors age, they can begin to experience stress over many things that they can't do anymore. Home care assistance can help alleviate some of that stress because they will have a caregiver to step in.
Home care assistance can help reduce stress for seniors aging in place.
Home care assistance can help reduce stress for seniors aging in place.

Stress can cause seniors to develop a variety of different physical and mental health problems. When seniors are living at home and they go through a major life change like losing a partner, the stress of that can make their existing health problems worse. It can also cause new ones.

However, seniors don’t have to experience a major loss to be impacted by stress. Stress caused by not being able to do the things they used to be able to and stress caused by not feeling like they have a purpose are just a couple of the stressors that weigh heavily on seniors.

Often, seniors don’t take stress seriously because they were taught that stress is just something that everyone has. But because stress can have such a big impact on a senior’s physical and emotional health, seniors and their families should take it seriously.

One way to alleviate stress for seniors is to get home care assistance. Seniors with home care assistance won’t stress about daily tasks like housecleaning, cooking meals, or shopping because they will need help doing them.

Having home care assistance can help seniors avoid stress-related health problems like:

 

Cardiovascular Disease

Chronic stress can contribute to the development or exacerbation of cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Stress hormones like cortisol can increase heart rate and blood pressure, putting additional strain on the heart and blood vessels. Seniors who already have cardiovascular problems need to manage stress to avoid an increased risk of serious problems like heart attacks and strokes.

 

Weakened Immune System

Prolonged stress can weaken the immune system, making older adults more susceptible to infections and illnesses. This can lead to more frequent colds, flu, and other infections.

 

Digestive Disorders

Stress can disrupt digestive function and exacerbate gastrointestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), acid reflux, and ulcers. Due to age-related changes in digestion, older adults may be more vulnerable to these problems.

 

Sleep Disturbances

Seniors are already prone to sleep disturbances, but stress can make those worse.  Stress can interfere with sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or disrupted sleep. Chronic sleep disturbances can contribute to fatigue, mood changes, and cognitive impairment in older adults.

 

Depression and Anxiety

Chronic stress can increase the risk of developing depression and anxiety disorders. Older adults may be particularly vulnerable to these mental health issues due to life transitions, loss of loved ones, or changes in health status. Seniors living at home who are experiencing loneliness also have a higher stress level and a higher risk of depression and anxiety.

 

Cognitive Decline

High levels of stress have been linked to accelerated cognitive decline and an increased risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Stress hormones can affect brain structure and function, impairing memory, attention, and problem-solving abilities.

 

Worse Chronic Pain

Stress can worsen existing chronic pain conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, or back pain. Stress-induced muscle tension and inflammation can exacerbate pain symptoms, reducing mobility and quality of life.

 

Weight Gain

Seniors who are overweight may be more likely to gain weight or become obese if they have a lot of stress. Stress can contribute to unhealthy eating habits, emotional eating, and weight gain. Older adults may be more prone to weight gain due to changes in metabolism and decreased physical activity levels.

 

Weakened Bones and Muscles

Chronic stress can accelerate bone loss and muscle wasting, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and frailty in older adults. Stress hormones like cortisol can interfere with calcium absorption and muscle repair processes.

 

 

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Assistance in Del Mar, CA, please contact the caring staff at La Jolla Nurses Homecare today. Call (858) 454-9339

La Jolla Nurses Homecare is a top provider of home care services in San Diego, La Jolla, Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carmel Valley, Point Loma, Bankers Hill, Mission Hills, Kensington, Coronado, University City, Pacific Beach, and all of San Diego County.

Brittnei Salerno
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