How Can I Tell If My Aging Parent is Stressed?

Is your elderly parent struggling with feelings of sadness or lethargy? Have they lost interest in fun activities and social events? Has their appetite changed, increased or decreased? Do they experience more headaches, stomach aches or muscle aches?

Elder Care in Hudsonville MI: How Can I Tell If My Aging Parent is Stressed?

Elder Care in Hudsonville MI: How Can I Tell If My Aging Parent is Stressed?

If your aging parent is dealing with these or similar symptoms, they may be under a lot of stress. Stress can physically affect the body in a number of ways, and it can manifest differently for each person. Elderly people may not be aware that they are experiencing stress, so it’s up to you and others like elder care assistants and family members to watch out for the telltale symptoms. Then, you’ll be in an excellent position to help them out.

There are many reasons why elderly adults feel stress:

  • Physical health challenges and overall decline due to aging.
  • Health care costs.
  • Loss of spouse, friends, and siblings.
  • Financial hardship.
  • Inconsistent caregiving.
  • Isolation and loneliness.
  • Worry about adult children.
  • Fear about the future.

The signs and symptoms of stress in aging adults may differ from person to person, but there are some commonalities that family caregivers and elder care assistants should know about. These symptoms include:

  • Feelings of sadness or despair.
  • Lack of interest in socializing.
  • Weight loss or weight gain.
  • Lethargy and lack of energy.
  • Insomnia or oversleeping.
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol.
  • Unexplained pain and aches.
  • Memory issues.
  • Decline in personal hygiene.
  • Irritable or angry.


While stress may be dominating their life, many elderly adults claim they are fine and are not experiencing anything wrong. It’s never too late to talk about stress management strategies with your aging loved one, as well as taking them to the doctor for some additional medical advice.

Some of the most common and effective stress management techniques for seniors include:

  • Healthy diet.
  • Regular exercise.
  • Meditation and relaxation techniques like tai chi.
  • Geriatric massage.
  • Developing hobbies.
  • Socializing with friends and family members.
  • Finding ways to laugh.
  • Listening to music and reading good books.
  • Connecting with nature.
  • Avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.
  • Getting plenty of deep, restorative sleep.
  • Attend therapy sessions to address stressful issues.
  • Medication as prescribed by a doctor.


If the above techniques don’t seem to be working for your elderly relative, their doctor may have more ideas or treatment options. It’s better to treat stress when it first appears than to wait until it becomes full blown and causes lasting health issues.

Stress in elderly adults is more common than people realize and it can happen to just about anyone. Symptoms of stress can affect almost every aspect of your elderly relative’s life, from their health to their social life. Too many of them fail to recognize the symptoms or causes of stress. The good news is that with the right treatment, support and self-help techniques, elderly people can reverse the effects of stress and get back to a more balanced state of being.

If you or someone you know needs help with elder care in Hudsonville, MI, contact Gauthier Family Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services in our community. Call us at (616) 258-2300 for more information.



About Dan Gauthier

Dan Gauthier has a long and successful business pedigree. He spent his college years working in the restaurant business and worked in various executive management positions at Universal Forest Products, Inc. over a span of 17 years, and Therm Technology / Family Safety Products for 12 years.

When the recession hit in 2008 Dan was “downsized” from UFP and spent a few years consulting for local companies Amway and Cascade Engineering. During this period Dan’s in-laws were experiencing catastrophic health problems and it required Dan’s wife Marion to focus full time on caregiving for her mother. Marion enlisted help from a local home care agency and it did not go well. This experience led to the creation of Gauthier Family Home Care, a home care agency that is uniquely holistic and family centric. Dan now works full time running GFHC.