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Stress Management Series Part 2

PART TWO: Warning Signs and Symptoms of Senior Stress – and Ways to Reduce It

Today, we’re presenting our next installment of the Stoney Brook Stress Management Series –an essential, in-depth guide to handling stress in older adults. Previously, we talked about what stress is and why it happens, why seniors are more vulnerable to stress and the causes and damaging effects of stress in seniors. (In case you missed it, begin first by reading Part One here.)


Below, we’ll discuss ways to spot stressed-out individuals, as well as some basic approaches to bringing them relief from the damage stress does to an older adult.


How to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Senior Stress

As we’ve already explored, chronic stress and inflammation are connected, and they can lead to or worsen a large number of physical and mental issues and diseases. Despite the many hazards, note that the warning signs of stress might not always be obvious, and they can vary significantly from person to person. So, what are the symptoms of stress in seniors? Key indicators encompass:

  • Anxiety; feelings of worry, sadness or pressure

  • Increased irritability

  • Poor concentration

  • Difficulty with decision making

  • Crying

  • Headaches

  • Changes in eating habits

  • Digestive issues; stomachaches; indigestion

  • Heart palpitations

  • Chest pain

  • Disturbances or changes in sleeping habits

  • Social withdrawal

  • Allergic reactions (skin rashes, asthma, etc.)

  • Self-medicating with drugs and alcohol

These are only a sampling of symptoms. Understand, too, that each individual could show either a single manifestation, or some or every one of them. But learning to distinguish that an unhealthy amount of stress is present in an older person’s life can be a crucial start to overcoming it.


Simple Techniques That Can Reduce Stress in Seniors

Because stress further contributes to numerous lifestyle behaviors that are unhealthy and will endanger overall well-being, it’s critical to manage the threats effectively. So, how can you help an older adult relieve stress? Here are our top five stress-reduction tips every senior should follow:


  • Eat Healthy and Stay Hydrated
    Follow a nutritious, balanced diet, and you’ll reap the benefits, such as naturally combating the harmful effects of inflammation, giving immunity a boost and energizing your mind as well as your body. Make water your drink of choice – or at least increase consumption by a glass or two ­– and enjoy the health rewards. They include better digestion, reduced headaches and more energy, plus enhanced brain performance, mental sharpness and emotional stability.

  • Get Moving with Regular Physical Activity
    Not only does exercise flush out those nasty stress hormones, it increases your strength, balance, coordination and agility, decreases blood pressure, arthritis pain and chronic illness and lifts your mood. Luckily, you don’t need to run a marathon to experience these advantages. Whether standing or seated, alone or with a friend or group, start or look for senior-focused fitness programs matched to your ability: stretching, walking, yoga, Pilates, tai chi, Sit & Fit Aerobics, dance classes and lots more.

  • Guarantee a Good Night’s Sleep
    Did you know that just getting adequate, peaceful ZZZs each evening can banish stress? In fact, it’s proven to be indispensable for anyone seeking peak physical and mental function. That includes the regulation and management of stress hormones, memory and mood, and the prevention of stress-related insomnia and other problems. Your sleep time, especially your REM/deep sleep cycle, should be restorative and when your mind rests and your body heals itself. That means insufficient, irregular sleep can be a major health risk, worsening how you experience and tolerate stress. Improve your snoozing and rejuvenation by creating a quality-sleep-friendly routine and perfecting the sleep setting with a mattress and environment suited to your needs and preferences.

  • Keep Focused on the Positive
    Notice that the news and other media you’re watching and reading only triggers stress? Try turning to something uplifting instead. Pick up or click over to heartwarming, encouraging shows, stories, articles or books that provoke positive thinking. If religious or other divine subjects bring you joy, read passages from spiritual texts, or gather with compatible folks in a congregation or an inspirational support group, like a Bible study. Additionally, cognitive exercises can stimulate the brain and enhance its adaptability and its ability to regulate stress hormones and overcome chronic stress’ dire effects. Puzzles, trivia games, crafts and hobbies are only a few examples of easy cognitive activities that seniors can do.

  • Stay Socially Connected
    Frequent companionship promotes your health in myriad ways, one of which is lowering anxiety. Whether through basic social bonds or deep, close personal relationships, you should pursue both casual and meaningful interactions. Possibilities range from quick telephone chats, to a coffee/tea, snack or meal together, to shared activities like shopping, going for a stroll, playing cards and seeing a movie. Many older adults discover that joining a senior living community provides the kind of built-in network and stimulation that empowers them to engage often, to squash stress and to maximize every single, wonderful day.

Over the coming months, we’ll be bringing you more installments of our Stress Management Series. Explore important facts, such as specific stress-reducing activities that seniors can do, as well as steps that caregivers and loved ones can take to reduce stress in seniors. Be sure to follow our blog!

Depend on Serene Senior Living Steered by an Expert Team

A knowledgeable leader in assisted living and memory care, Stoney Brook designed its Central Texas senior living communities to prevent daily stressors and ensure residents truly flourish. Through a fun, sociable environment and ample, stimulating activities, you or your loved one can age well – and savor each day to its absolute fullest. 

Schedule a complimentary visit to meet us in person and understand our relationship-centered approach firsthand. Plus, discover more from Stoney Brook’s free, insightful resources, all devoted to helping seniors and their caregivers. Subscribe to our blog.

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