Throughout our lifetime, there are changes and stressors that come with each life stage. Childhood holds the stresses of school, bullying, and meeting your parents’ expectations. The teenage years are full of hormonal tumult as you struggle to become an adult. The stresses of young adulthood vary. For some people, it’s juggling college and work in order to get the career that you want; for others, it’s starting a family and providing for your little ones. Middle age brings the stresses of trying to balance caring for older to adult children and aging loved ones, as well.
Making it through all of those life trials and tribulations brings you to the stresses faced by senior citizens. Money, illness, and family issues are always part of life’s challenges, but as we age, we face these challenges in different and sometimes more difficult forms. Stressors that affect senior citizens today include:
- Financial hardship – The recent downturn of the economy has drained the savings of those senior citizens who were previously well off, and many other seniors are barely above poverty levels, struggling to survive on dwindling social security benefits.
- Physical decline – As we age, our bodies slow down, our eyes dim, and we are not able to keep up with life like we used to. Adjusting to our new physical limitations can be a daunting challenge. Accepting these physical changes and adapting a less stressful lifestyle can help with this adjustment.
- Healthcare cost and changes – The business side of healthcare in America is changing. It is hard to know what will come next. The senior citizen population is booming, as well, driving the demand on healthcare workers higher and associated costs up.
- Neglect and abuse from caregivers – Families used to take care of their elderly relatives more often. Regardless of the reason for the shift towards placing elderly relatives into an assisted living residence or a nursing home, studies show that these places are a growing part of the business sector. Any time that you produce something or provide a service in bulk or mass quantity, service is known to decline in quality. Senior citizens now need to work harder to find caregiving that is compassionate and financially reasonable.
- Companionship – As we age, our friends and immediate families age, too. It can be very difficult to face that you may have few close companions left from your own generation. Relationships take on a whole new meaning as they begin to fall away. Coping with the death of close loved ones can be one of the biggest stressors for the elderly.
Although these stressors do exist, senior citizens can take comfort in the fact that they are not alone. New friendships can be formed and embracing life’s small pleasures such as a walk outside, coffee with a friend, or a crossword puzzle with a child, can make all the difference. Seniors can draw on the same life lessons they learned earlier in life to cope with the challenges that they face in their golden years.