As we navigate the changes that naturally occur with age, our sources of stress tend to change as well. Coping with new challenges, such as physical limitations, financial concerns, and medical conditions, can cause a lot of anxiety for seniors. Stress can contribute to serious mental and physical conditions or worsen problems that are already there. At the very least, chronic stress will have a damaging impact on your quality of life and could zap the enjoyment out of your golden years. Here are some ways to prepare for common age-related stressors and finally enjoy some peace of mind.
Seniors often worry about healthcare costs as their medical needs increase. In fact, The Motley Fool reports that retirees’ top financial concerns revolve around health insurance premiums, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and long-term care costs. Understanding your funding options can help reduce some of this stress and ensure you will be able to afford high-quality care when the need arises.
If you need to move into a retirement home or assisted living facility in the future, will your insurance cover the costs? For many seniors, the answer is no. Modern Retirement explains that Medicare will cover short-term stays in skilled nursing facilities but not retirement homes or assisted living. Medicaid, on the other hand, will help cover the costs of assisted living as long as you are eligible. Your other funding options include saving up the money yourself, purchasing long-term care insurance, or getting life insurance with a long-term care rider. Evaluate your options so you can plan for the future.
Also, keep in mind that Medicare can also help cover the cost of mental health care. Specifically, Medicare Part B will assist you with paying for psychotherapy, counseling, and psychiatry. Additionally, Medicare Part B also provides one annual depression screening for free. As such, it’s important to take care of this coverage as needed.
Loss of Independence
As we get older, sometimes it becomes more difficult to do things on our own. Declining mobility, strength, energy, memory, judgment, and decision-making skills can impact your independence and alter your lifestyle. This loss of independence can be extremely difficult to cope with. Fortunately, making certain home accessibility upgrades can help you maintain your independence and stay safe while aging-in-place.
The bathroom is one area of the home that can benefit from some safety modifications. Grab bars, roll-in showers, shower seats, non-slip mats, hand-held showerheads, and raised toilets can make a significant difference in your comfort and safety in the bathroom. The cost to make these changes varies depending on where you live and how much you’re having done; however, you may be able to recoup these costs when you sell your home in the future.
Common health conditions, such as arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, can be a huge source of stress for seniors. If you’re concerned, take steps to reduce your risk of developing these issues. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to stave off physical decline, so try to be active, eat a good diet, get enough sleep, and socialize regularly. Remember to visit your doctor for checkups and screenings so you can catch any problems before they become serious. Your doctor will also play a very important role in helping you manage and control existing conditions.
Loneliness and Isolation
Unfortunately, it’s common for seniors to deal with loneliness and isolation, conditions that can increase the risk of health problems and accelerate mental decline. Senior isolation can occur for a number of reasons, including mobility problems, depression, and the loss of friends and family members. Combating isolation will help you stay happy and healthy during your senior years, so find ways to be social whenever possible. Pick up social hobbies, join local groups, and take classes in your community. If you live alone in an isolated area, you may want to consider moving into town or finding a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community.
While it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the challenges of aging, try not to ignore the changes that are happening in your body. The best way to overcome stressors during your senior years is to be proactive about your health and well-being. Make a financial plan for your future, modify your home for aging-in-place, and stick to a healthy lifestyle so you can live the life you want—no matter what challenges come your way.
Author: Kent Elliott