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Welcome to the Senior Resource Connect blog. You can visit the blog each Wednesday at 10am for the latest information about aging, caregiving, COVID, and local resources.

Stress Awareness and Reduction

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We have all experienced stress in our lives, whether it has been a daily task that was challenging, or maybe a big life change like retiring or moving. While stress can be normal in ways, not dealing with stress can cause some bigger problems. A study published in the American Geriatric Psychiatry, as well as others, show that stress, particularly in older adults, can cause an increase in inflammation.  

What can stress look like? Well, for older adults it could be trouble sleeping, a change in appetite, or even physical symptoms like stomach aches. If you are experiencing these symptoms, or notice them in a friend or loved one, it is always best to check in with your doctor. Your first goal should be making sure that these symptoms are not caused by any other health concerns. 

Once we know that this is stress what can we do? One good thing to recognize will be what is causing your stress. As we mentioned, there can be many different things that cause stress. Whatever that may be, it would be best, if possible, to eliminate or reduce your interaction with a stressor. Even then, there are some key tips on reducing stress. 

Regular exercise is always better for your health, but it helps reduce stress as well. Your local senior center most likely has a senior exercise class of some sort, like yoga, tai chi, or even sitter-cise (exercise in your chair)! Washtenaw Community College also offers Senior Focus classes, which are free to Washtenaw residents that are 65 or older prior to start of classes. 

Socializing, and talking through tough times with others can also help reduce stress. This can look like many different things, from just grabbing lunch with a friend, or volunteering with the community. Once again, your local senior and community centers typically have a list of activities for residents in the area. A great example of a social activity would be Ypsilanti’s Senior Center, which offers a service project on Tuesday mornings, 10-11:30AM, where volunteers participate in the project, but also spend some social time together as well. A great way to not only volunteer, but spend time with others doing a fun project. 

Taking care of yourself is the best way to help with stress. Besides exercise and socializing, eating right and reaching out when you need help are also very important to keep in mind. There are many more resources out there that can offer ideas on how to reduce stress, like the National Council on Aging. Make sure that you and your loved ones are cared for and healthy, and that when stress becomes too much, find help or someone to talk to. 

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