Do older people have a harder time dealing with stressful situations?
YES. Older adults are more likely to have multiple losses of loved ones and friends, illness, relocation, retirement, income, change and decline in abilities. It may take an older adult longer to adjust to a major change or recover from prolonged and intense physical and emotional stress. The recovery of an older body from a traumatic event may be delayed due to age-related decreases in cardiac output and heart rate and more vulnerable to disease with a less effective immune system. However, the many older adults who have developed active and healthy lifestyles may be able to resist/mitigate some of the negative effects of stress or illness due to their physiological fitness. Likewise, coping skills that have been honed during a lifetime may lessen the damage of psychological stresses and ease adjustments to loss and change.
Linda Breytspraak, Center on Aging Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Last update: Tuesday, March 14, 2006