Seniors have a lot to look forward to in their golden years. Spending more time with their grandchildren, finally putting their hard-earned retirement funds toward travel, and taking up new hobbies with their extra free time are all perks.
But seniors also deal with stress, often brought on by their physical and emotional health. And while everyone is aware that seniors often have to take medication to treat physical health conditions, many are unaware that seniors can struggle with their mental health, too. Here are a few common health-related stressors that seniors face, as well as some general advice on how to remedy these problems.
While some seniors are surrounded by family, others may live far away from their relatives, or they may have lost some of their loved ones in recent years. According to Ágeis Living, about 43 percent of American seniors say that they feel lonely. Loneliness can lead to detrimental physical symptoms and can raise the risk of heart disease. Seniors may want to consider moving to a senior living community to connect with others, or joining a local organization where they can meet seniors who may be in a similar situation.
Mental Health Issues
Loneliness is just one contributing factor to depression and anxiety in seniors. Sometimes, external stressors can create inner turmoil. Mental illness can occur at any age, and seniors who are struggling with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issue should think about going to therapy.
Seniors should know that Medicare Part B does cover different mental health services, including counseling and psychiatric health care. Under Medicare Part B, seniors are also eligible for an annual depression screening with their primary care doctor. Working with a therapist can help seniors cultivate a more positive outlook on life, accept that changes that have occurred, and explore ways to move forward while embracing their circumstances.
Losing Sight or Hearing
Many seniors will deal with some level of hearing loss or vision loss in their later years. This can be tough to accept, especially for people who love listening to music, reading, or similar hobbies that rely heavily on these senses.
Seniors managing hearing or vision loss should work with their doctor to make sure that they have access to supportive technology and effective vision and hearing aids. Having relatives and friends around to give them a helping hand when they need it is just as important.
Seniors are likely to experience fatigue. It’s normal for seniors to have less energy than they did in their youth. However, fatigue can also make someone feel like their body is holding them back. According to Aspen Senior Care, seniors dealing with fatigue should check with their doctor to see if the underlying cause is treatable. They can also engage in low-impact physical exercise and other relaxing hobbies that won’t sap their energy.
For seniors who used to be very active and independent, accepting that they must rely on loved ones or caregivers to assist with certain tasks can be frustrating. As we age, losing a certain level of independence is almost unavoidable, yet it is not always easy to let others help, even when you know that it’s necessary.
If possible, seniors with caregivers (or caring relatives who stop by often) should have honest discussions about what they’re still capable of, and which tasks they still want to be responsible for. For many seniors, maintaining some semblance of independence is the key to happiness, even if they can’t do everything on their own anymore.
Seniors often find themselves facing some unanticipated challenges. Dealing with health issues while aging can be difficult. But with the right support system, reliable relatives and caregivers, and helpful resources, seniors can still thrive, even while managing health conditions.