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Seniors, Financial Loss, Poverty and Stress


Stress from Sudden Financial Loss

Stress is a killer. Many diseases are either caused or worsened by stress. One of the main ways stress hits seniors is by their financial situation. A sudden financial loss is much worse for someone over the age of 65 than it is for someone younger who can still get up in the morning and go to work.

Stress from Financial Loss can Lead to Early Death

A study published April 3, 2018 by Northwestern University School of Medicine in the JAMA journal followed 8714 American adults who had suffered a major financial loss in 1994. They were ages 51-61 at the beginning of the study which was completed in 2014. The study showed that those who suffered a major financial loss of 75% or more of their life-savings had a 50% chance for early death during the 20 year follow-up period. The study also included a group of financially disadvantaged people who had a 67% chance of dying during the same 20 year period. Thus, the study showed that seniors who suffered a major financial loss had a mortality rate almost as bad a those who were living all the time in poverty.

The great emotional and mental stress suffered by those who lost most or all of their life savings, plus the fact they no longer had money to invest in a good lifestyle and/or medical care are believed to be the reasons for their increased rate of death.

The study also showed that there was a higher risk for depression, anxiety, suicide, substance abuse and cardio-vascular problems among seniors who suffered a financial loss.

Stress from Financial Loss Greater in Seniors who Lost their Homes

Seniors who lost their homes as a result of their financial loss were in an even greater risk for death than those who did not lose their homes.

Need for Further Research to Find Intervention to Stop Premature Death from Financial Stress

The study concludes that there is a need for further research, especially to find some possible way of intervention that could stop the outcome to deterioration of health and/or death.

Stress can Lead to Chronic Diseases

Other studies show that stress can cause an increased risk for diabetes, heart attacks and strokes, migraine headaches, depression, asthma, obesity and gastrointestinal problems like ulcers, colitis, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease and more.

Stress Worsened Alzheimer’s Disease

A wake-up bell should be an animal study that showed that stress worsens Alzheimer’s disease and in fact there are researchers who believe that reducing stress may be the way to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s. Over 5.7 million American seniors are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and the cost of caring for them is enormous.

Stress can Increase the Rate of Aging

Also, research has shown that stress can increase the rate of aging by 9-17 years, so if you are 65 and under heavy stress you may really be showing the signs of aging for a senior who is 74 up to age 83!

Ways to Reduce Financial Stress by Getting Benefits

There are all kinds of stress-reducing physical and mental exercises, listening to music, going to support groups, etc. However, these are not going to pay the bills or keep a senior from losing their home. Here are some places to get information about getting financial help and guidance:

Over 23 million seniors are living at or below the poverty line.

The National Council on Aging claims that many seniors have no idea what benefits they are entitled to, that they are missing out on, like getting help to buy prescription drugs, food, heating their homes, medical care, dental care and help with devices for hearing and vision loss like hearing aids and eye glasses. Many seniors do not understand even what their rights are under Medicare. Here is link to download the guide to help manage and reduce your financial expenses.

Also, here is a phone number to call to ask for information about benefits, transportation, home and community based services:

Here is a link to get help with money management, debts and avoiding scams that target the elderly.

Senior Caregivers Suffer from Stress

Senior caregivers that are taking care of a sick or disabled spouse are under a lot of stress. These senior caregivers usually are not getting paid for the tremendous job they are doing, when they themselves are also elderly. The National Council on Aging has tools that can help senior caregivers.


Seniors who suffered a sudden financial loss of most or all of their life-savings and seniors who were all the time living on or under the poverty line suffered from premature death. Stress also causes or worsens many chronic diseases. Seniors must be directed to resources and benefits that can  help them manage financially and avoid scams targeting them.

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