While retirement is supposed to help you relax and enjoy freedom, challenges are still present. They encompass every aspect of your life like health, finances, dealing with change, social links, and others.
Managing stress is not always easy when you’re young, but coping with it as an older adult is on a whole new level of difficulty. Harvard Medical School relayed the insights of Dr. Michelle Dossett, an internal and integrative medicine specialist. She explained that at this age, “our cells are aging. Heart fitness and lung capacity decline, especially if you’re sedentary. That keeps us from adequately accommodating the body’s natural stress response.” She also said that stress can cause short-term memory problems that aren’t linked with dementia and age-related memory loss.
The golden years can be challenging indeed, especially if you spend most of your time at home. Thankfully, there are surefire ways in making daily life easier as a senior. Here are some tips to help you manage stress:
1. Take a walk.
Walking is a simple but effective exercise in reducing stress. Being outdoors keeps the mind young and vibrant, plus it doesn’t cost anything at all. This can be done in a mall, at the park, or simply around your neighborhood. There are also a lot of health benefits to gain from walking: it can strengthen abdominal and leg muscles, lower blood pressure, and maintain healthy joint function.
2. Learn a new hobby.
While physical activity contributes to longevity and a good quality of life, leisure activities are equally important for your mental and social health. Spending time on a new hobby keeps your mind busy and happy at the same time. You can never be too old to learn something new, as the saying goes. There are tons of fun activities to try. Hobbies such as gardening, knitting, and painting, provide therapeutic benefits for older adults. You can even get into sports such golf or if you like keeping your mind sharp, play chess.
3. Socialize through technology.
Socializing is a key factor in maintaining an elderly’s quality of life. In a previous Seniors Lifestyle post, we talked about how to stay connected with loved ones. We discussed how bonding with family and friends can be difficult decades ago, especially if they don’t live nearby.
Thankfully, today’s digital age has made a lot of activities easier and much more convenient. Thanks to the advent of social networking apps as well as messaging platforms, a click of a button is all you need to have meaningful conversations with loved ones faraway. If you do not have the strength to travel all the way to meet them, this is a good alternative.
But aside from that, you can even meet new people online. Many social networking apps for the elderly have sprung up, an occurrence that debunks the notion that the elderly are not tech-savvy. What’s more, there are also online social communities that provide social activities. Take the classic game, bingo. It has long been considered a social pastime, and now playable in virtual platforms as well. For example, the Foxy Bingo Android app brings together its friendly community and encourages both new and seasoned users to play games together. Social apps can be beneficial to the elderly, as they hit two birds with one stone. And aside from catering to your social needs, they even contribute to better mental health. Studies throughout the years have proven that games like Bingo can improve cognitive skills in older adults. Its social and mental benefits are precisely why it’s a popular activity in senior homes and nursing centers.
4. Adopt a dog.
If you are mostly alone at home, consider the company of a furry friend. Apart from reducing stress and providing comfort, the presence of a dog gives you a sense of purpose. Veterinarian Dr. Katherine Hillestad explained on Aging Care, “A new pet can stimulate someone to read up on an animal or breed, which can be very mentally stimulating and important at [old] age.” Dogs can also encourage the elderly to stay active, since dogs require regular outdoor walks. Their playfulness can also give an older adult’s arthritic arms and legs a workout.
What’s even better is that adopted dogs benefit from this relationship too, considering older adults have a lot of time to devote to the previously unwanted pets. This makes the experience of caring for them more fulfilling.