At any age, stress is a part of life. Young and old alike have to face difficult situations and overcome obstacles. While young adults struggle to establish a career, achieve financial security, or juggle work and family demands, older people may face failing health or dwindling finances -- or simply the challenges of retaining their independence. Unfortunately, the body's natural defenses against stress gradually break down with age. But you don't have to give in to stress just because you're no longer young.
Many seniors still manage to sail through their later years. "Successful agers" tend have a few things in common: They stay connected to friends and family, they exercise and keep active, and, above all, they find ways to both reduce and manage the stress in their lives.
The stress alarm
Stress comes in two basic flavors, physical and emotional -- and both can be especially taxing for older people. The impacts of physical stress are clear. As people reach old age, wounds heal more slowly and colds become harder to shake. A 75-year-old heart can be slow to respond to the demands of exercise. And when an 80-year-old walks into a chilly room, it will take an extra-long time for her body temperature to adjust. Read more...