I recently was stunned about a lack of perception regarding elderly stress issues. (Not by everyone, of course). But I was really surprised to learn in an online Q&A forum about seniors, of the many misconceptions on just what our elderly may be going through, and how it affects them.
The lead question in this particular forum was, in fact, a bit snippy. The person who asked it simply wondered why old people are always so “mean and crabby.” Then there were a few caustic comments about, “yeah, really.”
After reading for a bit, my fingers flew over the keyboard a mile a minute, and I asked the writers to consider a few of the elderly stress issues these “old people” face every day – as will they, themselves, some day.
How would you feel if…
A variety of elderly stress issues are related to financial challenges…
- You hardly have enough money to live on.
- You may not realize that financial elderly assistance is available to you.
- There’s hardly enough to pay the bills. Including medications.
- You may be concerned about losing your home.
- You live on a very limited, set budget. New clothing and entertainment are few.
- Your budget was so tight that it was difficult to get the kinds of healthy food you want, which affects elderly nutrition.
Elderly stress issues can cause isolation and loneliness…
- You can’t get around very well and it’s hard to get to the store, for anything.
- Your car keys were taken away and you can’t drive anymore
- You hardly have anyone to come and visit you.
- You had to move out of your home of many years into a strange facility where you hardly know anyone. The move was very unsettling. The change in routine is also very unsettling. (Moving is a major stressor for seniors and often leads to further illness).
A lot of elderly stress issues are health related…
- You have some chronic health problems that cause you a lot of discomfort.
- You’re sick and tired of going to the doctor.
- Chronic pain is something you deal with daily.
- Plus, it’s difficult to sleep and you have constant insomnia. You are always tired.
- You can hardly see and/or hear, so socializing is very difficult and awkward.
- And doing daily tasks or entertaining yourself has become difficult too.
- You have problems with your feet and legs, so it’s hard to walk. If you even can anymore. Your mobility has become very limited.
- You’re afraid of falling and breaking something, which would cause a whole myriad of further problems and pain – and maybe you already have, so you know.
- And your hands don’t work as well either.
- There have been problems with your teeth, but dental care is expensive. Chewing and eating have become more of a problem. So eating is not as enjoyable anymore.
- Plus, you are on a restricted diet and can’t eat your favorite foods.
- You’re afraid of having incontinence accidents, and maybe you already have. So you have to really consider what you can participate in, and where.
- You know you’ve lost a lot of your memory and it unnerves you. As my dad once said: “I know I’ve had a really interesting life, but I can’t remember a lot of it.”
Many of these elderly stress issues do affect the mood…
- Sometimes you just don’t understand what the point is anymore.
- You don’t feel like doing much of anything anymore. Even TV is hard to see and hear; and music is hard to hear. It feels like there’s nothing interesting to do.
- You’ve lost a lot of your independence, and so many activities have become so difficult now.
- You feel lonely and isolated. Even with others around in a facility or campus.
- You no longer feel needed or significant.
- It seems life has been full of losses… of loved ones and friends, financial security, a pet, a home, familiarity, social interaction, mobility, health, independence, hobbies and things to do, food you loved, your memory. And your looks.
- It seems the world has changed into an entirely different place, to the point where you hardly recognize it anymore. Sometimes it seems like you’re living on a different planet. (It may be best to keep watching the news to a minimum.)
- Every day you fight to not feel depressed, but you often do anyway. (No wonder. Any one of these elderly stress issues could contribute to depression in seniors.
- You feel like you’re losing your mind (and you may be).
Despite this list of very daunting elderly stress issues – and these are just some – so many of our seniors face their challenges with strength, grace, acceptance, and a positive attitude.
But let’s get real. It would be hard for anyone, especially the elderly, to be perpetually cheerful through it all, and so our elders may seem at times (or a lot) a bit “crabby and mean.” Keep in mind, it is typical for a senior to be challenged by at least a dozen of these elderly stress issues at any time. At least a dozen. And these are supposed to be The Golden Years.
So what’s to be done?
There are many ways to help relieve elderly stress issues.
Be sure to see our page all about Creative Elderly Stress Activities, for starters.
And there are other things, like good nutrition, appropriate elderly health care with correct medication, and a good program of exercise for seniors. We have various ideas on our web site for you to explore.
Our population is aging, and it is vital we understand this time of life and all of its concerns (and joys too). Perhaps listen and learn. Maybe find ways to help out. There are lots of volunteer possibilities, not to mention careers in related fields (see our page on volunteer ideas). What goes around comes around, as they say.
And when our turn comes around, how will we cope?
Be sure to also read:
Signs of Elderly Problems — There are telling signs of elderly problems. Some of these problems are often hidden and can cause major stressors. It is crucial to learn to tell the signs for the health and safety of loved ones.
Health, Music and Mood — Read some interesting findings on music and how it can help with elderly stress issues.