International Stress Awareness Week: Identifying the signs of stress amongst older people

Stress and mental health problems have never been more important than now, and the challenges they present never more acute than in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS Gov), nearly one in five adults (19.2%) have shown to have signs of some form depression during the coronavirus pandemic in June 2020; doubling from the year before. When your friend or family member becomes stressed, it’s completely natural to want to help in any way possible to support them.

The older we get, the greater the risk of stress impacting on your health, therefore by identifying stress earlier, it can help alter the lives of older people who may be unsure of how to deal with it.

What is the purpose of International Stress Awareness Week?

International Stress Awareness Week first started back in 2018 to help raise awareness about ways to prevent stress. The week presents an opportunity to highlight useful advice on how to identify the signs, before it develops into a bigger mental health problem.

While many people are still trying to overcome the challenges and changes this year has brought, the key indicators of stress found in the elderly are changes in their eating, difficulty remembering memories, mood swings, changes in their physical health and self-isolation.

Portland’s Top Tips for overcoming stress

Stress that is left unresolved can contribute to life changing health problems. Here are some of our top tips for managing stress amongst older people:

 1. Keeping in touch with loved ones

During lockdown, many face-to-face visits at care homes were limited, which greatly impacted the wellbeing of residents. Here at Portland we embraced the power of technology to connect residents with their loved ones. Something as simple as a quick video call to check in with family and friends had the power to reduce their stress levels significantly.

2. Making time for hobbies

It is important for the elderly to keep social in order to avoid loneliness and social isolation. Engaging in a variety of activities can have different impacts on different people. But noticeably,  arts and crafts can have a significant in decreasing stress, anxiety and depression. Here at Portland we have a comprehensive activity schedule in which residents can participate within that will help keep their brain active, reducing their risk of dementia.

3. Coping mechanisms

Stress tends to become more difficult to manage as we age but practicing some simple coping mechanisms such as breathing exercises can help reduce stress levels. Through our experience of dealing with stress and the elderly, we do suggest introducing coping mechanisms when stress becomes overwhelming as it can significantly help mental wellbeing. ­

4. Being active

Adults over the ages of 65+ should be doing at least 150 minutes of steady physical activity every week. The importance of being active has allowed our residents to not only to think and feel more independent, but to feel happier.

5. Ask for help

We know the first step may be difficult but keeping feelings of stress bottled up can cause additional problems. If you are feeling stressed and you are struggling to manage it, we would always advise that you ask for help.

Situated in Buxton, Portland Nursing Home provides specialist nursing care for a range of needs, creating a safe and supportive environment in which residents can meet and form close friendships.

If you are interested in finding out more about Portland Nursing Home, our friendly team would be happy to talk to you via 01298 23040 or if you fill out our contact form a member of our team will get in touch.

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