Old age often brings many changes. Some of them are things the elderly look forward to, like retirement and grandchildren. Unfortunately, some changes aren’t happy events. With old age comes the loss of friends, family members, and even spouses to death. In addition, some seniors have to move away from their homes because they need the assistance of family members. All these things can cause grief. Of course, grief has a heavy emotional impact. However, what you may not know is that grief can also impact your aging relative’s physical health.
Physical Effects of Grief
How grief impacts physical health can be different for everyone. Some common symptoms that grief can cause are:
- Lack of appetite.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Stomach upset.
- Weight changes.
Experts believe that these symptoms may be because of the stress that grief puts on the body. It can cause inflammation, which contributes to all kinds of health issues and can worsen existing medical conditions. It also weakens the immune system, which can cause the older adult to get sick more easily than normal. Grief can cause a rise in blood pressure and increase the chances of getting a blood clot. Some people even suffer from “broken heart syndrome,” which is caused by the way grief changes the heart muscle. The symptoms of broken heart syndrome look a lot like a heart attack.
How to Deal with Grief’s Physical Symptoms
There are lots of things older adults can do to reduce the physical symptoms of grief. Some things that may help are:
Leaning on Others: Having friends and family that support them can improve an older adult’s mood and help them to move forward.
Practice Good Health Habits: Doing the things that support overall health are important to reducing physical symptoms of stress. Encourage your aging relative to eat balanced meals. Because they may not feel like eating, it’s important to make everything they do eat as nutritious as possible. Offer snacks like yogurt, fresh fruit, and raw vegetables with dip. Try to get them to move around some. Take a walk with them or suggest some time out in the garden. Sleep is also important. Sticking to a regular bedtime routine and schedule can prompt sleepiness.
Try a Support Group: There’s probably a support group for grief in the older adult’s community. Going to support group meetings where other people are grieving gives the senior a safe place to talk about how they are feeling and connect with others in a similar situation.
Home care services providers can offer some of the support your aging relative needs during the grieving process. Home care services providers can be someone to lean on and draw comfort from. In addition, home care services can encourage the good health habits that will help the older adult feel better sooner. A home care services provider can prepare healthy meals and snacks, go for walks, and assist with maintaining a regular schedule.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Wellesley MA, or anywhere in Eastern Massachusetts, please call the caring staff at CARE Resolutions – (508) 906-5572.