Aging and Mental Health: 5 Common Stressors for Seniors

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Aging and Mental Health:
5 Common Stressors for Seniors

Unfortunately, stress doesn’t disappear as we grow older. We may get better at staying calm in tough situations, but we encounter new obstacles and challenges with each passing year. 

Seniors may leave behind careers they were passionate about and look for a new purpose in retirement. They may relocate to an area with a more agreeable climate and miss the family and friends they had to say goodbye to. Or, they may have to adjust to life with a chronic medical condition. All of these choices and more can result in stress for seniors. Here are a few typical sources of stress for seniors and suggestions for coping with stress in your golden years. 

Limited Mobility

Even active seniors occasionally find themselves dealing with joint pain, backaches, and reduced endurance as they age. While some seniors still maintain intense fitness regimens, most have to scale back to limit their risk of injury. People who are no longer able to be as active as they once were often miss being youthful and energetic, and living a more sedentary lifestyle can take a toll on their mental health. 

Instead of giving up workouts completely, changing up your routine to suit your needs could be a better option. Verywell Fit recommends a variety of low-impact exercises that can help seniors stay in shape while going easy on their joints, such as basic yoga, walking, and swimming.

Managing Chronic Illness

As we age, our risk of developing chronic medical conditions increases. This is natural, but living with these limitations is difficult. Seniors managing chronic illnesses must consider how they will finance their medical care and who can help support them on a daily basis. They also have to contend with a certain loss of freedom and independence, which is not easy to accept. 

Caregiving Responsibilities

While some seniors require assistance from caregivers, others are in charge of caregiving duties for their spouse or other relatives. On top of dealing with any health issues that may have come about as a result of aging, they may be responsible for taking care of someone else. 

Being a caregiver, especially when you have health concerns of your own, can be physically and mentally taxing. Seniors who take on this role may have trouble balancing their own needs with the needs of their patients, which can result in depressive episodes. 

Anxiety and Depression

People can develop symptoms of anxiety or depression at any age. Seniors dealing with the loss of loved ones, financial stress, or physical health conditions often struggle with their mental health. Some may want to seek professional help but don’t know who to reach out to. 

Thankfully, Medicare Part B does provide coverage for therapy services so that seniors can benefit from affordable counseling or psychiatric healthcare. If you suspect that you might be suffering from depression, Medicare Part B covers an annual depression screening with your primary doctor. According to GoodTherapy.org, talk therapy can be a highly effective treatment for anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. 

Memory Loss

Many seniors notice that their memory isn’t quite as sharp as it used to be. Sometimes, this is a warning sign for dementia or Alzheimer’s. But according to Aging Care, minor memory loss in seniors is often benign — most people will be a bit more forgetful as they get older. However, overlooking commitments, missing appointments, or misplacing things can still cause stress. Asking for family and friends to remind you about events on your schedule or to help you organize your home can make it easier to cope with these changes. 

Our golden years can be beautiful, but aging can also mean facing new challenges. With the right support system, seniors can look forward to many healthy years ahead.