Do you feel lonely?

Postings from some of our contributors describe isolation and loneliness. Some see no way out of this predicament. AARP has been focusing on this issue and has published the informational brochure we’ve attached here.

See what you think of their recommendations. Would this be helpful to you or someone you know? Are they missing anything?

Let us know what you think.
Jane and Ellen

This entry was posted in 70candles, Adaptations and accommodations as we age, Aging, Caretaking, Men aging, Older women connecting, Widows’ choices and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Do you feel lonely?

  1. Jeanne says:

    I read the article and I do agree.
    I retired a little over a year ago. One of the first things I did was to subscribe to your blog. I also bought 2 of your books. I was hungry for answers and help. I felt like a fish out of water. I was drowning. I read other women’s stories, read your books and applied myself. I joined two groups in my church with women who had the same values and interests. I joined the committee for our bazaar which is held in November. I am a knitter and knitting items are in demand because young people are not learning to knit and our older knitters are dwindling. As of now I have over 60 items to donate. It gives me certain pride and accomplishment. My son and his family are in charge of a toy booth. So having extra time, I have purchased over 50 toys at great discounts. The church allows a small budget for purchasing.
    So my advice to you is go out there, volunteer, join groups, and before you know it you will have to budget your time and schedule.

  2. Diana says:

    If we’re going to talk about loneliness, I think that those of us who don’t feel lonely should be very careful not to discourage others from posting. We should avoid the ‘all you have to do is join a group/volunteer/join a church, etc…..’ superficial responses. If ‘curing’ loneliness were so simple, there would be no lonely people.

    As a whole, Americans are lonelier than ever before. We no longer sit on our porches and chat to neighbors as they walk by or join women’s special interest clubs. In general, we’re angrier and more isolated than ever before in our history.

    Am I lonely? At this point in my life, no. I have a husband, family, and a busy life.

    But I no longer have the wide group of friends that I had at 17, or 37, or even 57. The deprivations of age have robbed me of some of those I was once close to. They died, moved closer to children, or became absorbed in caring for a spouse. Work friends disappeared when I retired. And my neighbors are friendly and there when I need them, but we have little in common.

    There is no one-size-fits-all solution to a cultural problem that’s impacting us all.

    On a personal level, if I’m left alone in my little hilltop house, I’ll just move on to a senior community of some kind and hope to find a kindred spirit or two there.

  3. Kathy says:

    With all due respect to AARP, articles like that state the obvious “call a friend for coffee”… well, most truly lonely people don’t have a friend to call for coffee. That, in case no one has noticed, is the problem. And most lonely people have smiled, said hello, tried to make friends, tried to become included in groups. But often, the result of “meet-ups” and endless joining of book clubs and hiking groups is making many acquaintances but not one real friend – people who are friendly but not particularly interested in making a new friend.

    Loneliness stems from lack of close, caring and loving connection – it only needs to be with one or two people. But connection with someone who actually cares about you, checks in with you, wants to know what you’re doing, wants to talk to you and spend time with you.

    Western culture seems to equate activity and being surrounded by people with social success and happiness. Is it any wonder we are having an epidemic of loneliness and depression? People are only interested in connecting with someone who perhaps can “up” their own profile, or be, in some way, of use or value in the social arena. There is very little of old-fashioned true neighborliness, caring, taking time to know or understand someone who might, on the surface, appear less “successful”, less affluent, less of a social asset. I think, sadly, the culture of our country would have to change so drastically to remedy our deficit in human kindness and connection that it is highly unlikely things will change.

    • Blog Mavens says:

      Yes, loneliness is a significant and sad issue, especially among older adults, and when it’s combined with depression, it becomes more intractable.

      I agree that just one or two good friends would be satisfactory, but I question a bleak outlook.

      Your message gave me pause, and a moment to think back on my own entry into a new town where I had family, but no “friends.”

      Here’s what I’ve learned about making new friends as an older adult.

      *The process takes a very long time…many years, in some cases.

      *There are acquaintances along the way, especially if you join interest groups or community centers. That’s a good starting place. Hang in there. Those brief conversations can eventually lead to closer relationships.

      *Making a new friend is more about giving than getting. You have to be a friend TO someone, going more than half-way. Lots of people are alone and would welcome a new person in their life. This is especially true in times of illness, or distress. Here are some things one can do/say:
      “I’m going out walking, interested?”
      “Would you like to go to lunch after class?”
      “I’m heading to the grocery store/Library. Can I pick up anything for you?”
      “There’s a good movie/show/concert playing, would you like to join me?”
      “I know your spouse is ill/in the hospital, what can I do to be of help?”

      A phone call to someone incapacitated or just not feeling well, is welcomed.

      You’d be surprised how well this kind of extended kindness is received….appreciated and then reciprocated.

      So many of our 70Candles subscribers are moving to new locations, adjusting to the loss of a spouse, finding themselves seeking new connections.

      I hope we hear from others as they develop new friendships.
      Tell us what worked for you.

  4. Ellen Cole says:

    I can’t imagine a more important topic, especially at this time of the year, the beginning of the holiday season. My husband and I used to live in Alaska, and couldn’t get together with our family in the “lower 48” for many of the holiday festivities, due to distance and cost. Our remedy was to go to a really bad movie and feel sorry for ourselves. Of course we were together, and many of the movies turned out to be ones we loved (“Dude, Where’s My Car?”). I think there has to be an antidote to loneliness, simply because it’s so detrimental to our psychological well-being and even physical health. And I know there’s no one-size fits all solution. The literature suggests that those of us who are lonely reach out. And keep reaching out. Say hello to someone before they say hello to you. Don’t give up. I realize this is easier said then done, but I believe it’s important. Thank you to all who are writing and sharing on this topic. And that in itself is a way to be less lonely. My two cents, Ellen

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