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Stress management for older adults

Stress management for older adults

Stress awareness month happens every April, running from 1992 right through to present day. Its aim is to increase awareness about how and why we experience stress. The month encourages stress management research and techniques. Everyone experiences stress from time to time. Although, older adults may experience a different type of stress.

For instance, later retirement, higher living costs, estranged families and lower pensions. These factors contribute to stress. The physical implications of getting older cause frustration. Daily tasks become harder, and loneliness can be rife among this population. A combination of these things can massively increase stress. We focus on stress management for older adults specifically as they may have less support.

Sources of stress in the elderly

  • Physical changes
  • Financial and lifestyle changes
  • Caring for their family or spouse
  • Bereavements
  • Possibly having to move houses
  • Lack of visitors
  • Higher bills and living costs

What are the signs of stress?

  • Changes in appetite
  • Restlessness, tapping, leg bouncing, anxiety symptoms
  • Anger or frustration
  • Changes in emotional stability
  • Forgetfulness
  • Reduced contact in person or over the phone
  • Noticeable tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Physical symptoms like headaches and muscle pains

Managing your own stress

Managing stress looks different for each individual.  What works for you may not work for someone else, and vice versa. Here are some ways you as an older adult can manage your stress:

  • Share your feelings with a close relative or friend
  • Increase contact with neighbors, friends, families, helplines
  • Try to increase the frequency of social activities. Try meeting a friend or chatting to staff in shops and cafes
  • Taking part in light exercise or regular walks
  • If you have a lot of free time, engage in hobbies or volunteer. Charity shops or religious organisations need volunteers
  • Adapt your mindset to the great things you have going on, try to focus on these things
  • If you feel you need to, reach out to a professional or charity who can help with some of these stressors

How can you help an older adult with stress?

  • Reach out regularly. Schedule time to have a quick chat or text
  • Ask what you can do to help
  • Make a list of professionals and groups that could help like support groups, community groups or doctors
  • Try to organize fun activities in or out of the home
  • Cook and eat together regularly, this can be a great social opportunity

Coping with stress

If you or someone you love is struggling with stress, there are a variety of places to look for help. Aside from medical professionals and your local doctor, some other resources are:

Stress management society



Mental Health Foundation


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