International Stress Awareness Week: Identifying stress amongst the elderly

This year has turned all our plans for 2020 upside down, and for many residents in care homes it has been the hardest year to date. From seeing loved ones weekly to only being able to see them through an online screen or at a distance, many elderly residents have struggled to adapt to the increase of stress.

What is International Stress Awareness Week?

Held on the first week of November, International Stress Awareness Week, aims to identify and reduce the stress factors in individuals lives. The awareness week provides the opportunity for individuals to take a moment to review their wellbeing and find ways to manage stress.

New findings from the Mental Health Foundation revealed that more than eight in ten adults have experienced stress due to the COVID pandemic. As one of the worst hit, there has been an overwhelming increase of stress amongst care home residents.

How to reduce and support residents overcome stress during COVID-19?

Here at The Beeches Residential Home we have worked endlessly to help and reduce stress amongst our residents throughout these difficult times. The biggest indicators of stress amongst the elderly are:

  • Changes in eating
  • Mood swings
  • Memory issues
  • Physical signs
  • Self-isolation

While stress is a natural human reaction to uncertainty and challenges, it is when stress becomes overwhelming many individuals struggle to overcome it. Through our experience, we have found the best ways that to support our residents to calming down and reduce stress are:

Staying connected

As face-to-face visits are limited and, in many homes, stopped completely, studies have shown that video chat technology including apps such as Skype and Zoom, have proven to significantly reduce stress and risk of depression amongst the elderly. Video calls have helped the elderly overcome the distance between loved ones this pandemic, allowing them to develop a sense of connection.

This November, The Beeches are introducing a new visitor pod, allowing residents to meet with loved ones in a COVID-secure and homely environment.

Getting up and about

It is recommended that adults aged 65 and over should do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity throughout the week. Throughout the pandemic there were times where residents were confined to certain rooms, however now as we gradually open up more areas we have found by simply getting resident’s up and about or even a wander to our gardens can help lift their mood greatly.

Findings from the Mental Health Foundation showed that over half of UK adults have found visiting green spaces have helped overcome the stress of the pandemic. At The Beeches we are lucky to have had our wonderful gardens to enjoy throughout the summer months, whilst being in lockdown

Make time for pastimes

Stress often prevents people doing things they actually enjoy.  Art therapy has shown to be significant in decreasing stress, anxiety and depression in people from all age groups. Here at The Beeches we organise regular art and craft sessions to allow our residents to express how they feel through art instead of words. This has proven to be a good distraction to avoid stress and boost wellbeing.

Provide coping mechanisms

Life under the new ‘normal’ has been extremely difficult for many, but practising coping mechanism can have huge impacts. Something as simple as providing a breathing pattern when the elderly become stressed can provide huge benefits for decreasing stress levels.

Based in Ixworth, just outside of Bury St Edmunds, The Beeches provides specialist dementia support and a daily roster of activities to enjoy, creating a safe and supportive environment to meet others and live happily.

If you are interested in finding out more about The Beeches Residential Home, our friendly team would be happy to talk to you via 01359 230773 or if you fill out our contact form a member of our team will get in touch.

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