10/20/2022 | By Charlie Fletcher

As seniors, we have decades of changes behind us, but we have more to come. The challenges of aging can make these changes different – and difficult – to navigate. We offer tips on managing life transitions as a senior, from planning to self-care.

While you might think of major life transitions as things you go through in your younger years, many seniors deal with them as they age. Life keeps moving forward, no matter how old you are. Things like the birth of a grandchild can be a welcome change, while transitions like retirement or facing a medical diagnosis can be more challenging.

Whether you’re going through life transitions that are good or bad, they can disrupt your daily routine and take you out of your comfort zone, causing extra stress and leaving you feeling overwhelmed.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to manage major life transitions while keeping your overall well-being in mind. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to handle the good and the bad, so you can manage the effects of these transitions in healthy, proactive ways.

Tips on managing life transitions

Plan and prepare

Not every life transition is predictable. You never know when you might face an unwanted medical diagnosis or when an accident might occur. However, there are other things that you have time to plan and prepare for, including retirement and living arrangements.

About 2% of seniors reside in assisted living homes. Older individuals often choose to go into assisted living for benefits like:

  • Personalized care
  • Safety
  • Social engagement
  • Comfort
  • Easy access to healthcare facilities

It’s not necessarily the right choice for everyone, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and determine where you want to live the rest of your golden years. Aging in place at home has its benefits, too. You’ll save money and may experience greater independence. However, you might also deal with loneliness and isolation, and it can be risky if you have a medical condition.

Related: The effects of loneliness on senior health

By planning and preparing now for your future, you’ll be more confident in your decision about where to live, and the things you want to do. That will make that major transition feel less overwhelming and heavy.

Practice self-care, especially during life transitions

Self-care is essential for everyone, but it’s especially important for seniors dealing with life changes.

Practicing self-care doesn’t mean you have to go to the spa each day or spend thousands of dollars on luxury vacations. Rather, it’s about doing something each day that helps you manage your stress. That looks different for everyone, and your self-care habits might change as you age. However, some of the simplest forms of self-care include:

  • Practicing daily hygiene
  • Prioritizing sleep
  • Staying physically active
  • Using preventative healthcare services
  • Picking up a hobby

Not only is self-care good for your physical and mental health, but it can help you feel more in-tune with your emotions. If you’re struggling to deal with a major life transition, that’s OK! Your feelings should be validated, and you shouldn’t have to feel guilty or ashamed if you’re having trouble getting through something, or even if you just feel sad or frustrated. Change can often be a good thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Practice self-compassion along with self-care, and you’ll have an easier time dealing with difficult changes.

Foster healthy relationships

Two senior Asian women outside. Image by Szefei, Dreamstime. Seniors have decades of changes behind but more to come. We offer tips on managing life transitions as a senior, from planning to self-care.

Another way to practice self-care is to maintain strong social connections. Older individuals are at a greater risk for loneliness and social isolation, which can wreak havoc on their health. Maybe you’re dealing with an empty nest for the first time. Or, maybe your spouse passed away and you’re on your own.

Whatever change you’re dealing with that’s causing you to be alone shouldn’t be ignored. Put your focus on fostering healthy social connections and building strong relationships.

Consider joining a club or organization with other seniors that allows you to stay active and meet new people. Take a class. Start a new hobby. Take the time to regularly contact family members and friends. Thanks to advancements in technology, it’s easier than ever to keep in touch with people. Nothing can fully replace in-person interaction, but even getting online for a weekly video chat with your grandkids or a friend across the country can make a big difference in how you feel.

When you prioritize social connections, you’re also prioritizing your mental health. You’ll reduce your risk of feeling isolated, which can help you maintain a positive outlook on life.

Plus, leaning on a support system can make it easier to go through other major life transitions. The older you get, the more difficult it can be to handle those changes on your own. Having people in your corner and knowing that you always have help if you need it can make just about any challenge easier to handle and less overwhelming.

Everyone goes through life transitions, and they don’t stop as you age. Prepare yourself when you can, prioritize your well-being, and think about what’s best for your future as you navigate some of the good and bad transitions seniors often have to deal with.

Charlie Fletcher

Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer from the lovely “city of trees” – Boise, Idaho. Her love of writing pairs with her passion for social activism and search for the truth. You can find more of her writing at