Stress in Older Adults (and What To Do About It)

Apr 16, 2024

Feeling a little stressed? You should know you’re not alone.

Many older adults experience periods of stress, especially when facing times of transition such as retirement or moving to a new home. To manage such feelings, and the resulting changes to one’s mental health, the first step is understanding where they’re coming from.

Keep reading to explore some of the common causes of stress in older adults – and ways that an independent living community like The Admiral at the Lake can help.

Older Adults Have Better Mental Health Than Younger Adults

In 2016, the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that older adults experience better overall mental health than those in their 20s and 30s – despite age-related physical and mental changes. This includes reduced levels of stress.

“Our findings support the existence of a ‘paradox’ in which aging is associated with better mental health among older adults at the population level despite the loss of physical and cognitive function,” researchers wrote.

So why are older adults experiencing less stress than the younger population? There’s not a conclusive answer, but senior living communities like The Admiral at the Lake offer their own lifestyle solution. From fine dining to wellness programming and calming stress management courses, the community provides a variety of services and amenities to help older adults feel good at any stage of their health.

Researchers have reported that, compared to younger adults, older individuals tend to be more skilled at emotional regulation and complex social decision-making, and to exhibit more positively balanced information processing.

However, stress can take a toll on your mental health beyond even those risks to your physical health. It can compromise your ability to adapt to new situations, meaning that even small changes might cause prolonged periods of stress leading to anxiety, irritability, social withdrawal and depression.

Changes Increase Stress for Older Adults

Older adults may not be as affected by stress as those in their 20s, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune. In fact, it may be more difficult to physically cope with stress as we age and to deal with the risks to our physical wellness. But at a community like The Admiral at the Lake, beautiful natural environments, wellness programming, and lifelong learning combine to help older adults stay physically and mentally well.

Heart fitness and lung capacity may decline over time, which makes your body’s natural response to stress less effective. Stress causes your brain to release hormones that ramp up your breathing and heartbeat, a state your body may not be able to handle as well as it did when you were younger.

Age-related changes not only reduce our ability to cope, but they can even be a source of stress themselves. Recurring pain or discomfort, mobility issues, or coronary artery disease are a few circumstances that might cause an uptick in your stress levels.

Older adults may encounter emotionally stressful situations that are more severe and occur more frequently. Some situational causes of increased chronic stress in older adults include:

  • Retirement
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Heart disease
  • Too much unstructured time
  • Declining physical abilities
  • Financial concerns about the future
  • Caretaking demands for a spouse, parent or other loved one
  • Moving to a new residence

Discover What City Life at the Lake Can Be for You

The Admiral at the Lake offers comfortable senior living on Chicago’s lakefront. Designed to relieve daily stressors and let you live your best life, our Lifecare Community provides Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Support, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation in addition to an elevated, engaged lifestyle.

Our Lifecare contract gives a care plan for your future in beautiful Chicago. Gain peace of mind while enjoying gorgeous lakefront views and all the fun of city life in elegant floor plans.

Come visit us on the lakefront to see what our community offers, or request a brochure to learn more at your convenience.