Almost everyone experiences stress from time-to-time, including those aged 65+. Stress in the elderly is typically caused by late-life events like the death of a spouse, financial difficulties or a chronic illness. Unfortunately, chronic stress can cause serious health problems that interfere with a senior’s ability to age in place. On the other hand, finding safe and reliable ways to decompress is one of the keys to enjoying a happier, more fulfilling life. What follows are five stress-reducing activities that most seniors can safely participate in.

Common Stressors in the Elderly

Some common triggers (stressors) for stress in older adults include:

  • Loss of a spouse or other loved one
  • Physical or medical limitations
  • Caring for a disabled or ill spouse or partner (caregiver stress)
  • Chronic illness
  • Feeling isolated due to living alone
  • Limited finances
  • Too much unstructured time
  • Changes in relationships with children

How Stress Affects Older Adults

As is the case with someone younger, when a senior gets stressed their body releases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. If the body isn’t allowed to recover from that stress response, over time those hormones build up.

Researchers have linked the resulting stress hormone overload to these health problems in the elderly:


  • Heart disease
  • Weakened immune system
  • High blood pressure
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Weight gain
  • Abnormal sleeping patterns


5 Safe Stress-Management Tips for Seniors

Fortunately, there are several non-harmful approaches that seniors can use to relieve stress and have a more positive outlook. If there’s an elderly loved one in your life who needs some stress-management assistance, encourage them to participate in these five activities:

Yoga and Tai Chi

Practiced for thousands of years, Yoga and Tai Chi provide many physical benefits, like building muscle strength, increasing flexibility, and improving balance and coordination.

But Yoga and Tai Chi also benefit the mind in many ways by improving concentration, boosting self-esteem and reducing stress. Joining a Yoga or Tai Chi class at the local community center is also a great way for seniors to meet new friends and heighten their sense-of-wellbeing.

Cognitive puzzles and games

Solving crossword, Sudoku or other puzzles that require concentration can provide mental stimulation and serve as a distraction that takes a senior’s mind off what’s troubling them. There are also many