Who likes to be stressed out? Answer: no one. Not only does stress cause a lot of sleepless nights, health issues (indigestion, anyone?), grumpy moods and more – it simply makes life a lot less enjoyable. So why wouldn’t you do something to make a change about that?
“We’re not saying that every senior who is living on their own is stressed out, but it is something that is fairly common,” says Addie Gould, Administrator of Maple Ridge Senior Living in Ashland, OR. “Even if your life isn’t incredibly stressful, there are things that you probably are tired of doing or wish you could give up. You may also not be stressed out right now, but the idea of the future can be a bit worrisome. We’ve found that senior living can be an excellent solution to all those stress-related worries, and then some.”
Think of things in your life that you don’t like to do. Cleaning your house, for example – even if you hire someone to keep everything neat and tidy, you still have to coordinate that, pay for it, and the like. And what about fixing things around the house that are broken, or working in the yard? After a while, these tasks become pretty tedious, and as you get older, you may just not want to do them anymore.
“Senior living provides a maintenance-free lifestyle that allows you to enjoy your retirement years to the fullest,” Addie explains. “It also provides a framework for allowing seniors to age in place safely while still remaining independent. That perhaps is the greatest benefit of the stress reduction that a senior living community like Maple Ridge Senior Living can provide.”
Addie says that one of the best things a senior can do is to move into senior living “early” – in other words, before you require additional assistance like assisted living. “We’ve discovered that people who move into communities when there’s an incident or accident have a lot more stress about moving into a community, and it really can take away the enjoyment that a community provides,” she says. “On the other hand, if you’re relatively independent and active and make the choice yourself to move into a community, you’ll reap the psychological benefits and have a much better experience now and in the future.”
The Effects of Stress on Seniors
While it’s impossible to completely eliminate stress from our lives, seniors will greatly benefit from reducing the levels of stress as much as possible. Stress is an ever-present concern for older adults due to issues like boredom, loneliness, isolation, poor health, and a dwindling ability for independence. Unfortunately, stress is a vicious cycle – the more stressed you become, the more damaging hormones are released into your body, which then causes things like hypertension and even cognitive decline. Here are just some of the issues that constant stress can have on a senior’s body, mind, and soul.
Heart disease. Constant stress can lead to higher cholesterol levels and heightened blood pressure. This increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular system issues. In fact, sudden and very intense stress has been known to cause instant heart attacks.
Dementia. Recent studies have shown that high and constant levels of cortisol (the hormone that’s released when you’re stressed) can damage the parts of the brain that control memory and cognitive function. At the same time, many forms of dementia are tied closely to our cardiovascular system, and issues like heart attacks and strokes can cause an onset of dementia.
Obesity and diabetes. Chronic stress can actually change our metabolism, causing us to store more fat around our middles. Obesity can lead to poor health, including type 2 diabetes. Stress actually affects our glucose levels as well, and because we tend to overeat “bad” foods when we’re stressed, the risk for this type of diabetes increases greatly.
How Senior Living Helps Reduce Stress
In honor of National Stress Awareness Month, here are some of the ways senior living helps decrease stress and allows seniors to live happier, easier, and more peaceful life.
1. It takes work off your plate.
While owning your own home has long been a form of independence, maintaining that home can become too much work as we get older. You may also just not want to do it, and use your free time to do things you want to do instead. Senior living provides an all-inclusive, maintenance-free lifestyle where you don’t have to lift a finger for any sort of tasks or chores. You don’t even have to go grocery shopping or cook if you don’t want to – it’s all handled for you.
2. It provides instant community and friendships.
Being lonely is a real problem for seniors. And it’s harder to make and maintain friendships when we’re not surrounded by people on a regular basis like we were at school or at our places of employment. When you move into senior living, though, you’re instantly part of a community. You’re surrounded by a network of your peers who are all looking for the same things as you – to enjoy this phase of their life to the fullest. Plus, with a full calendar of events that are planned for each and every day, it’s never been easier to meet and make friends.
3. You have security and safety 24/7.
Accidents and incidents happen to the best of us, and as we get older, the risks increase. It’s worrisome to think about what will happen if we fall down the stairs and can’t get to the phone, or what will happen to our home if we go away on a trip for an extended period of time. In senior living, security is just part of the fabric of life. Communities have secure entrances and exits, and there’s always someone on staff to be there in an instant if you need help or assistance.
4. You benefit from a focus on health and wellness.
Staying healthy as we get older requires work. You’ll need to get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet and stay active mentally. Senior living makes it easy to do all those things and more. At Maple Ridge Senior Living, we focus on helping our residents stay healthy and active. This includes an amazing dining experience, a well-equipped fitness center, and enriching events and activities to help nourish the mind, body, and soul.
5. Peace of mind.
Finally, senior living provides peace of mind for now and the future. We understand that as we get older, we will more than likely need help to live safely. Living on your own means that worry and stress are always on your mind. But in senior living, you can relax because you know that you will always be cared for by compassionate, expert staff in a place you know and love. It also provides peace of mind for your family because they know that you’re in the best possible place to enjoy your life to the fullest.
Guided by Goodness, Loyalty, Faith, and Fun.
Maple Ridge Senior Living is a place of vibrancy and life-promoting meaning and joy in the lives of residents, families, and our team members. Elders inspire us, motivate us, guide us, and direct us. As we work to create an empowering, caring, growing culture for elders, we are also creating our own future. After all, we are all elders-in-waiting!
Offering independent living, assisted living and short-term stays, Maple Ridge Senior Living is nestled at the convergence of the Cascade and the Siskiyou Mountain Ranges in Southern Oregon. Our spacious and bright building boasts beautiful valley views surrounded by nature and wildlife while still conveniently close to the center of town. Walk or take a short ride to Lithia Park, the Shakespeare Festival Theatres, or Ashland’s downtown plaza for shopping, art galleries, dining, and entertainment.
We invite you to schedule a tour and learn more about the services, amenities, care, and lifestyle available at Maple Ridge Senior Living. Please call us at 541-238-2070 to schedule your personal tour today.