Coping with change

As you get older, you are likely to have a lot of physical and emotional changes in your life, for good and bad. Sometimes these are gradual (like needing to wear glasses), but sometimes they are much more sudden, no matter how much you’re prepared for them, such as retirement, children leaving home, bereavement or your health getting worse.

How you handle and grow from these changes is often the key to living well, and there are things you can do to help cope with change. See below for a list of hints and tips.

Come to terms with the change

There are some things that have happened or are happening you may have little or no control over - you will need to come to terms with them and accept they are happening to you. Recognise that events like the death of a loved one are stressful, and you need time to come to terms with it - but remember things do get better over time.

Try to plan ahead

Sometimes, there are things you can do to prevent the event from happening or at least lessen its impact. For example, you’re less likely to have a fall in your home if you’ve removed wires and other hazards. Or you could plan ahead to decide what you want to do when you retire or think about what will happen after you’re gone. Try to find practical things to do to help your peace of mind and ease any worries, such as making a will. Make sure you look after your own health, well-being and welfare and talk to someone like your GP, who can give you advice about changes to your life you might want to make, e.g. eating more healthily.

Keep talking and connected

Even if you’re somebody who doesn’t like showing how you feel to others, you should try to find someone to talk to such as family or a close friend. Or you might prefer to talk to someone in one of the services listed below about how your worries. But don’t ignore your feelings – it can lead to anger, stress and depression, and make things worse. Or, if you know someone who is having a tough time, why not reach out to them first? (Find out more in the Feeling Low section).

Stay positive

We tend to all focus on what we can’t do but try to think about what you can still do – perhaps with help - or could learn. For example, perhaps you can’t get around as often as you used to, but you could plan a gentle walk and talk in the park with a friend. Try to enjoy the good things in your life and surroundings and use the change as a chance to think about what you might want to do – how to take up a new hobby, reconnect to an old friend or stay in touch with children and grandchildren.

Keep active

Busy and Learning: If you are having a tough time, try to decide on what you want to do and plan how to achieve it. Take some practical steps – don’t be afraid to ask family, friends and others for help – and try to keep busy and active, physically and mentally. This makes you fitter but also more confident and better able to cope. Think about volunteering to help others.

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Useful resources


MIND and Haringey mental wellbeing network

MIND in Haringey (external link)

020 8340 2474 (Option 1)


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Page last updated:

February 20, 2023