Stress has become a major health factor for more people today than ever before. And it hits especially hard among seniors. Stress triggers for seniors can include the loss of a loved one, feelings of boredom, and the loss of basic physical abilities such as mobility, hearing, vision, and balance. And stress often exacerbates many physical health issues for seniors, including:
- High blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease
- Weakened immune system which makes recovery difficult
- Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia
- Heartburn and indigestion
In addition, stress can speed up the aging process and lead to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Mental health incorporated into your primary care
Since all stress has a mental and emotional component, Intermountain Health has launched a program that incorporates treating these facets tailored to the needs of seniors called Mental Health Integration (MHI) at our myGeneration Clinics. MHI is a team approach that brings a wide range of resources together. Your MHI team consists of many skilled and caring professionals:
Primary healthcare provider (your regular doctor), who coordinates with a team of mental health specialists to create a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Care manager or health advocate – nurse or medical assistant who connects you with resources and care providers and helps solve problems.
Psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner with specialized training who consults on medications and complex emotional issues.
Psychologist or licensed clinical social worker to provide counseling and talk therapy.
With MHI, your provider conducts assessments to identify your specific mental health needs, and then works with your care team to design a personalized treatment plan based on your needs and goals.
We are in the process of bringing the MHI program to several other convenient Southern Nevada locations including:
- Boulder Crossing myGeneration Clinic
- Desert Heights myGeneration Clinic
- Maryland Parkway myGeneration Clinic
- Nellis myGeneration Clinic
- Pahrump myGeneration Clinic
- Rainbow myGeneration Clinic
- Siena myGeneration Clinic
- Tenaya myGeneration Clinic
- Valley myGeneration Clinic
So, whether you need some advice to deal with stress due to the pandemic or more, Intermountain Health’s MHI program has your back. Our state-of-the-art facilities are conveniently located near you across Nevada, and are staffed with award-winning medical professionals so you can take comfort in knowing you are getting the best care available.
Stress fighting tips for seniors
AARP has some good information on defeating stress. Here are some of their suggestions:
- Eat right – including fish, probiotic-rich foods (pickles and sauerkraut), leafy greens, and a high-protein breakfast
- Exercise – yoga, meditation, and walking and working outdoors
- Bedtime routine – take a warm bath or shower and avoid screentime such as TV or computer
The American Institute of Stress recommends relaxing with deep breathing – inhaling slowly to a count of 1-2-3-4 and exhaling slowly counting backwards.
Harvard Medical School has some great advice for senior stress management:
- Consider assertiveness training to effectively handle conflict
- Join a bereavement support group if applicable
- Think about getting a pet. Studies show dogs and cats can help lower stress
*This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis from a physician or qualified healthcare professional.