We are well versed in youth mental health and there is an emerging awareness of men and mental health, however the one area that we as a society rarely talk about is “senior stress”. Perhaps the prospect of getting to an age where we no longer work and on a perpetual holiday fills us with such possibility that we don’t consider what older people could be stressed about.
With 15% of Australia’s population over the age of 65 and growing,
approximately 10% will experience some form of senior stress
With 15% of Australia’s population over the age of 65 and growing, approximately 10% will experience some form of senior stress. Senior stress can be triggered by many factors including loss of spouse, declining social networks as a result of illness or death, move into a care facility, reduced mobility and increased dependence on aids such as walkers, change in medication and so on. It is easy to see that as we get older, life stressors do not deteriorate, they just change.
Northside hosts a number of activities to increase your social networks.
So how do you thrive during this time?
- Keep active. Not all exercise needs to be strenuous and gentle movement such as Tai Chi or Yoga keeps you physically limber and reduces the risk of injury. Here is a list of Tai Chi in your local area.
- You are never too old to make new friends. Your local community will have a range of services supported by Government for older people to get involved in social activities such as day trips, movies, lunch and so on. Northside hosts a number of activities to increase your social networks.
- Get a pet. Our lives are less stressful when we have a reason to get out of bed; and getting out of bed and buying a rescue dog or cat gives no greater purpose. Stroking a pet is also proven to reduce feelings of anxiety.
- Turn off the news and read. Books ignite our internal imagination often taking us into other worlds and introduce us to new characters and distracts us from our own negative thoughts. Can’t afford to buys lots of books? BookBub provides a weekly list of free books to download.
- Change your routine. For one day each week, break your regular activity and challenge yourself to do something that you wouldn’t normally include in the day to day.
- Better out than in. When we think the same thoughts over and again, they start to become bigger and worse! By writing down your worries, you may be able to gain a different perspective.
Getting older is inevitable for all of us, and we can still look forward to a wonderful stage in our lives as long as we don’t let senior stress take over it.