Learn About Stresses Around Helping Older Adults


People often feel good – proud, honored or happy – about being able to help older relatives or friends.


Helping older adults can also be stressful. Helping with personal needs might be uncomfortable. Some situations can be upsetting or overwhelming.


Common causes of stress for people who are helping older adults include:

  • Feeling unsure about what to do or how to do it

  • Worrying about what happens if the older adult’s situation worsens

  • Having less time for friends, family and favorite activities

  • Disrupting their and their family’s routines

  • Wanting to “just” be the older adult’s partner, child or friend

  • Spending more time or money to help than expected

  • Missing out on activities or opportunities

  • Feeling isolated and unsure of where to go for help

People who help older adults tend to be more stressed if they:

  • Live with the older adult

  • Didn’t have a choice about whether or how to help

  • Spend many hours helping

  • Worry about their own finances

  • Don’t have supportive family or friends