Senior Stressors and What You Can Do About Them

By: Sharon Wagner, SeniorFriendly.info

As we age, we face new and different stressors with each passing year. For the most part, stress in our senior years is a product of one of two categories. These are physical discomfort (health changes) and lifestyle changes brought about by things like a limited income. The trick to living your best life after retirement is to know how to adapt to these various changes.

Physical Discomfort

There are many physical changes that come with age. Some you can see, such as wrinkles and gray hair. Others, you can’t see but you can feel. Issues with your digestive system, for example. As we get older, it’s a little harder to enjoy our favorite foods. For one, we may not taste them the way we always have. Further, digestive secretions began to decline. And as News Medical Life Sciences notes, this can leave us with a smaller appetite, followed by constipation from the foods we do eat.

You can offset many dietary woes by eating plenty of fiber and drinking enough water to keep you hydrated. Both of these will keep things flowing while providing your body with some of the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Another issue that creeps up on many seniors is back pain. Advent Health Medical Group explains that older adults are at risk of degeneration of the spinal joints. Unfortunately, back pain is not only irritating, but it can also affect a critical part of your day: getting enough sleep.

There are two primary ways to alleviate back pain. These are through exercise and by changing your mattress. Lower back exercises include bent knee raises, curl ups, and leg extensions. Do make a point to talk to your doctor before you begin a new exercise routine.

As far as your mattress goes, pay attention to your sleep position (side, stomach, back, etc) and match that to a mattress that provides the right amount of support. If you find yourself spending most of your night on your side, a Purple mattress, which is both soft and firm, may do the trick. For those of you that spend the night on your back, a supportive brand like Winkbed may keep you in alignment through the overnight hours.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes that may leave you pulling your hair out include things like having to care for a sick spouse and learning to live on a limited income.

If you find yourself suddenly having to take care of your wife or husband, you may find that you sleep less, make poor dietary choices, and experience pain and strain more often than ever before.

There are a few tools that might make your burden a bit less physically demanding. One piece of furniture that can help with mobility issues is a lift chair. Starting at around $550, these are electric recliners that can lift and tilt so that your loved one can get up using mostly their own strength.

Living on a limited income is another issue that, with planning, you may be able to adjust to without a huge change in your day-to-day routine. A few ideas are to pay off your house so that your Social Security or pension checks are not going toward an expensive mortgage each month.

You may also consider swapping your personal vehicles – and the insurance and upkeep – for public transportation if you don’t venture out that often. And if you have had to quit your job to care for a spouse, you may be entitled to be paid for this labor of love if you live in one of the 15 states that pay spousal caregivers.

New issues will pop up every day. The trick is to get ahead of the worst parts of change and to embrace them. Doing things like switching your mattress and reducing your monthly bills are just a few examples of ways that you can respond to changes without reducing your quality of life.

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