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5 Reasons Why the Elderly Become Stressed

By Jeff Hill, 9:00 am on December 7, 2015

Because of worrying about age-related concerns, some seniors may have higher levels of stress than younger adults. To help prevent further health concerns, it’s important to recognize the causes of the stress and find ways to alleviate them. Consider these 5 common reasons that may be the source of your senior loved one’s stress. 

1. Loss of Independence 

Studies show one of the biggest senior concerns is the ability to retain independence for as long as possible. Concerns about aging in place, reliance on others, and performing daily tasks independently are common causes of stress for seniors. After having been a self-functioning adult for many years, it may be stressful for your loved one to think about what capabilities he or she might lose in the future and when that future might occur. One way to help your loved one face fears of losing independence is to talk about plans for the future, including those regarding Phoenix senior care, and involve him or her in the decision-making process. Your loved one may feel more in control of daily life if he or she still has a say in both large decisions and everyday ones. Reassure your loved one you don’t want to take away his or her independence and that you understand the nervousness and frustration he or she is feeling.

2. Financial Security 

Many seniors have reached the age of retirement, either voluntarily or because it has become too difficult to work anymore. Unfortunately, this means many also live on a fairly small fixed income, and some rely exclusively on a social security check to meet their needs each month. Worrying about how to make ends meet is, thus, a serious concern. One of the best ways to alleviate financial stress is to sit down with your loved one and go over his or her budget. Offer to help your loved one make revisions if need be and look for creative ways to help him or her save money such as looking online for coupons and learning how to price match. 

3. Health Concerns

The likelihood of developing numerous health concerns may increase as a person ages. While adults in their thirties and forties have limited concerns about having a heart attack, stroke, or developing dementia, these concerns are much closer to home for many seniors. Surveys show the worry about serious health problems developing is one of the leading causes of stress for the elderly. Quality of life is tied to the ability to enjoy living, meaning seniors often worry a serious illness will reduce quality of life and independence. You can help your loved one manage health concerns by encouraging him or her to eat a healthy diet and exercise most days. Your loved one should also have regular checkups and keep on top of preventive tests that can catch problems before they become severe. 

4. Loss of Loved Ones

Seniors are often faced with the fact their peer group and friends are also aging with them. As your loved one gets older, he or she is likely to watch a number of friends and acquaintances pass away. This can raise concerns not only about personal health and length of life, but also feelings of sadness and depression. Stress from worrying about losing close friends or the number of losses is also common. If your loved one does lose someone close, it can help if you understand the grief process and can offer a shoulder for him or her to lean on when needed. Offer to handle tasks around the house your loved one would usually manage or simply let him or her know you are open to talking about the loss. 

5. Loneliness

As seniors age and experience changes in life such as losing loved ones, it’s normal for them to become lonely. This can be especially true if changes cause a significant reduction in the amount of time your loved one spends with other people, for instance the loss of a best friend or spouse or the decision to stop driving. Changes in the amount of time spent with others can lead to a sense of isolation and loneliness and result in significant stress. Try to ensure your loved one has opportunities to spend time with family and with other seniors. Consider arranging a carpool ride from your loved one’s area to a local senior center once a week or helping him or her learn to email friends who live far away.

By helping your loved one overcome the obstacle of stress, you can boost his or her overall quality of life. One of the main goals at Home Care Assistance is making sure seniors can maintain happy and healthy lives with help from our compassionate caregivers. In addition to part-time and 24-hour care, we also offer comprehensive Alzheimer’s, stroke, and Parkinson’s care in Phoenix. For more information, call one of our friendly Care Managers at 602.388.1085 to schedule a complimentary consultation.