Stress is an inevitable part of life and, when unmanaged, can lead to a variety of health issues from headaches and weight gain to anxiety, depression and heart disease.
seniors-and-stressWhile these complications are dangerous for all seniors, the homebound clients Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island serves are at an elevated risk for more severe stress due to the loneliness and isolation that often are parts of their everyday lives.
They also face unique challenges in finding ways to reduce their stress. Typical coping techniques such as exercise and spending time with family and friends often aren’t possible for our clients because they have physical limitations, cannot safely leave the house on their own and, in many cases, don’t have regular visitors.
Here are four ways homebound seniors can combat stress:
Stay connected—Many Meals on Wheels of RI clients with Internet access stay in touch with family and friends through social media. Also, belonging to an online community group can be a great way to connect with peers who share personal interests.
Pets—Having a dog or cat companion can substantially decrease feelings of loneliness that lead to stress. Pets provide comforting touch, a sense of purpose and satisfaction from feeling needed. Meals on Wheels of RI’s Pet Food Program offers our seniors dog and cat food so that they can more easily care for their beloved pets.
Relaxation—When feelings of stress become overwhelming, practicing deep breathing and meditation can be calming, as can listening to soothing music.
Hobbies—Spending time each day on a pleasurable activity will enhance feelings of happiness and decrease those of boredom and stress. Hobbies such as watching movies, doing jigsaw puzzles and crosswords, and reading are easily enjoyable at home.