As your parents begin to age, their stress levels will begin to increase – and this is for a wide variety of reasons.
Although they may not be working any longer or have long since retired, and are comfortably living in the home of their dreams, the elderly tend to experience high levels of stress. Here are the five most common triggers of stress and how they can negatively affect long-term health in seniors.
1. Change. Change is inevitable, but as you get older it gets harder to adapt both physically and mentally. Right now, seniors are in a constant state of change. Their health is decreasing, friends are passing away, and their independence is dwindling.
All this change can be overwhelming and stressful to deal with. Often these changes and loss of good health and independence can foster depression in the elderly. It is important to watch out for signs of extreme fatigue, agitation, and bouts of sadness.
2. Cost of Living. Considering how much it cost to support one’s self when employed, the elderly have a lot to worry about, especially if they didn’t plan financially ahead for long-term care. Worrying about being able to afford medical services, medical supplies, and medication in addition to loans, utilities, and house payments. Financial instability is a big cause of stress found not only in seniors, but in a large population of the United States.
3. Caring for a loved one. As your parents continue to age, their health may not decline at the same rate. In fact one parent may grow significantly sicker than the other, leaving one to provide care for the other. Although convenient and cost efficient, this can lead to increased stress levels in both of your parents. The task of care giving is not easy, and can take a lot of time out of the day, leaving little time for other business that needs to be taken care of.
Additionally, caring for another person can be stressful and difficult if one people are responsible for another person’s well being in addition to their own.
4. Moving from home to an assisted living facility. Seniors also experience tremendous stress when having to move from one home to another. Not only is it hard for them to adjust to a new environment, but if it is into an assisted living facility their living accommodations may be significantly different from what they are used to.
5. Family commitments. While seniors may want to be involved in the lives of their grandchildren, it can be difficult and often stressful for very elderly parents to watch over grandchildren. Especially if your parents are not mobile, it can be difficult for them to keep constant supervision over young children. This can add to stress, as they feel like they are not fulfilling their responsibility as a grandparent.
It is important to regulate the amount of stress that seniors experience, as excessive amounts of stress can lead to long-term health problems. High blood pressure, depression, and other heart related problems are more likely to occur as a result of extended periods of extreme stress.