Stress Coping Strategies
For The Elderly

This article is about stress management and stress coping strategies for the elderly. With that in mind, their needs and ways for them to cope with aging will deal specifically with things like loneliness, physical disability, rejection, and feelings of worthlessness. Emotional stresses such as these are so powerful that older people often find it impossible to live or cope in a society that looks at them in any kind of negative way. Thus, if nothing is done to address these issues, the stress of aging can be one of the most destructive mental and physical processes we'll experience in our lives.

Because we're more prone to the effects of stress as we age, stress coping strategies for the elderly are very important for continued health and well-being. Among the many stress coping strategies for the elderly that are available, social support is especially well suited and recommended to the older individual because it focuses on social and emotional needs.

There's no question that social conditions affect physical ability and independence and contribute enormously to the health of older people. The widowers and elderly people living in areas where there's no social organization for them, increase their chances of succumbing to illness and disease. On the other hand, older people belonging to religious groups or close ethnic groups are buffered against stress-related disease because they exist within a well integrated community.

For some time, social isolation has been suspected of increasing the aging process. In one study, for example, it was found that people lacking social ties had three times the mortality rate over a ten year period than people having close social ties. Being involved in social and community affairs, giving and seeking advice, and other forms of assistance had an important effect on how older people perceived their own health status.

Furthermore, having close friends and confidants had a strong tendency to relieve stress and influence both physical and mental health. In another study, it was shown that the stresses of retirement, death of a spouse, and decreased activity were lessened as a result of having supportive exchange with an intimate friend.

Social support networks, then, serve to bring us back from isolation into a social community that will respond to our needs and offer us an outlet for sharing, communicating, and interacting. Some of the best social support networks are religious organizations, retirement associations and clubs, volunteer and charity organizations, and community action groups.

These kinds of support groups for those of us retired and in our "Golden Years" can enrich our lives by making us feel useful and needed and by giving us a sense of dignity. Aging, after all, doesn't necessarily mean an end to our challenges, but the beginning of a new phase of our lives in which we fulfill those challenges in a different but equally enthusiastic and satisfying way.

We hope these stress coping strategies for the elderly has enlightened you a bit and have given you ideas to help yourself, your parents, or possibly even a neighbor or friend.


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