This article examines chronic stress among impoverished, working-class retirees in post-socialist Romania. The central argument is that stress has become endemic among older people as a result of the transformation from socialism to neoliberal capitalism beginning in 1989. One chief source of stress is managing health and illness within the underfunded public health care system. Pensioners become stressed because of their inability to pay for medical services, pressure they place on indigent kin to help them with health care expenses, concern they will not be treated well even in emergency situations, and other reasons. The article argues in conclusion that policy changes are needed to lessen the potential risk stress poses to public health.

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