International Stress Awareness week: Supporting your loved one

International Stress Awareness Week is an awareness event celebrated in the first week of November every year which aims to draw attention to stress and mental health problems, as well as promote support services and raise awareness.

Taking care of our mental health and reducing stress has never been more important than it is now, due to the challenges the Covid-19 pandemic has presented to us all in many ways.

New research conducted by The Health Foundation and The Office for National Statistics has found that more than two-thirds of adults in the UK (69%) report feeling ‘somewhat’ or ‘very worried’ about the effect COVID-19 is having on their life. The most common issues affecting wellbeing are worry about the future (63%), feeling stressed or anxious (56%), and feeling bored (49%).

 

While some degree of worry is understandable considering the circumstances, it is crucial that we support the heightened worry and stress experienced by some groups – in particular, our elderly loved ones who may be struggling.

 

Here are some tips towards supporting your loved one:

 

Relaxation Techniques

A large part of stress management is focusing on triggering the opposite of the stress response: the relaxation response, which helps lower blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, stress hormones and oxygen consumption. Try encouraging your elderly loved one to take part in calming techniques such as seated yoga, meditation, or daily journaling. Creating daily routines to practice awareness and relaxation together is a great way to reduce stress.

 

Regular check ins

Friends and family support for loved ones during these difficult times, is vital in easing some of the stress people may be feeling. Sharing their thoughts and feelings can help them feel less stressed and more at ease. Check in with your loved one by giving them a ring every few days, or perhaps drop by for some socially distanced tea and a slice of cake!

Enjoying a good belly laugh can also help to reduce stress during this tough time! A good sense of humour can go a long way in reducing stress levels for us all. As they say, laughter is the best medicine!

 

Staying Social

 Elderly people experiencing overwhelming stress often isolate themselves from others, refusing to socialise or participate in activities they tend to enjoy. Here at Rosebank, we encourage our residents to enjoy arts and crafts, puzzles and singing together, amongst a host of other activities to encourage socialising and group participation. We have also started building work on our very special ‘Family Visiting Hub’, which will allow our residents to safely stay safely connected with their loved ones during the winter months.

 

Exercising

It’s well known that exercising can significantly improve your mood; it builds up your feel-good hormones, the endorphins. New Government Research also suggests just 20 minutes a week of any physical activity, such as cleaning or gardening, can have an impact on psychological distress.

Encouraging your loved one to get outside into the garden for some fresh air and a walk is a great way to reduce stress. Equally, showing them how to do chair exercises will encourage a boost of dopamine, perfect for reducing feelings of stress or anxiety.

 

Providing help

Sometimes, stress can develop into something more serious, and you will want to ensure your loved one can easily access professional help and support should you be unavailable. There’s a lot of support available for elderly individuals looking for advice, and many are available via telephone. For example, Age UK offers a wide range of support services, such as mental health support and general advice for the elderly.

Alternatively, you may be considering other options that offer additional care and support, such as moving into a care home. Over the last few months, Rosebank has become home to several elderly people from our local community, many of whom became isolated and lonely during lockdown. We have been delighted to welcome them into our Rosebank family, and see them flourish.

 

Our philosophy at Rosebank has always centred around our residents’ health, happiness and creating a sense of belonging and self-esteem. We have an extensive team of friendly, committed staff, who spend time with every resident each day, to discuss how they’re feeling, and monitor their emotional wellness. As a dementia specialist home, we have a range of activities designed to stimulate your loved one’s mind, and bring out their creative side, while keeping them socially engaged.

If you’d like to hear more about our Bampton-based home, our team would love to speak to you. To contact us, call 01993 850308 or fill out our contact form and a member of the team will be in touch. You can also stay up to date with the latest news on our Facebook page.

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