Article Courtesy of Kent Elliot:
Your golden years are supposed to be, well, golden right? For the most part, it is. It’s a time to pursue new hobbies and passions, cultivate and make new relationships, spend more time with family and friends, travel, or maybe even pick up a part-time job. The truth is, what makes your senior years golden will be different for everyone, but the stressors you may encounter are often universal. The following are just a few of the possible stressors you might come across:
Changes in Overall Health
Aging brings with it various senior health issues, with some of the most common being arthritis, heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, depression, and Alzheimer’s. Although your physical abilities will change, you can prevent/reverse some of the effects of these physical ailments with regular exercise in the form of stretching, strength/resistance training, and aerobic exercise. Taking a class such as yoga, Pilates, Zumba, or swimming is a great way to boost your physical and social game too. As for your mental health, seniors can find much relief and benefit from socialization whether it’s in the form of classes or regular lunch dates, as well as brain-stimulating activities such as puzzles, board games, and reading.
This might sound like an odd one, but your house can actually be a big source of stress. Being unable to keep up with a larger home in both interior/exterior cleaning and maintenance is one of the big reasons, among others, why seniors choose to downsize. However, keep in mind that downsizing doesn’t necessarily involve a smaller home. Many seniors find that they eventually need to downsize into independent or assisted living to combine that community feeling with a little extra help. The added socialization in the form of outlets and activities can help combat senior isolation, which is a big stressor too. Should you decide on a senior community is the next best step, schedule tours to find the best fit, keeping in mind the large variance in price range in New York City, which runs from $1,500 to $17,250 per month.
When you said your vows years ago promising to love and cherish them in sickness and in health, you probably weren’t thinking about the true reality of it. Being a spousal caregiver is a 24/7 job, so it’s natural that it causes a great deal of stress and tension. Separate caregiving from being a spouse by only talking about caregiving activities when necessary (i.e. when it’s happening), in order to preserve those regular couple interactions. If you can, seek out support via family, friends, and support groups. There are simple ways you can quickly relax as well by taking time out for a breather, repeating a mantra, exploring aromatherapy, and taking in some fresh air with a quick walk. If your spouse is able, make it a point for the two of you to get out of the house together at least once a week for a change of scenery.
Like becoming a parent, becoming a grandparent is a unique feeling full of joy and happiness. However, for the super grandparents out there who take care of grandchildren both physically and financially, it’s downright exhausting. Even just watching the grandchildren for a few days or nights out of the week is enough to have you collapsing into bed at the end of the day. If you’re feeling the stress, understand that it’s okay to say “no.” You might even consider combining the efforts with other fellow grandparents. As for the financial side of grand parenting, avoid shelling out money for recurring costs; instead, contribute what you can to a savings or college fund.
Your senior years come with a promise of more freedom and adventure. However, no one mentioned the added stressors. That said, like each stage in life, it comes naturally, but taking care of them and yourself should become natural too.
Kent Elliot is a retired architect with a passion for dogs, DIY, and universal design. After a stroke left him with mobility issues, he thought he would need to move out of his home and into an assisted living community. But, using his experience as an architect and with a little creativity, he was able to successfully remodel his family home instead. The relief he felt has inspired him to help others do the same. He created AtHomeAging.info to share what he’s learned.
You can find Kent at: athomeaging.info
Thanks Kent for writing this article for Peer 2 Peer Real Estate.
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