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Fighting Loneliness

When you are raising your kids in your adult years, it seems you will never know a minute’s peace.  Each day was another explosion of yelling, running and wild activity in the house from the moment the kids are born until they are grown and moving out.  It was when the last one finally made their way into the world that you actually knew what it was to be alone, at least the two of you.

A full life such as this makes the adjustment to senior citizen status, retirement and the time you may spend alone and with time on your hands a bit of an adjustment.  The adjustment is even more profound if you enter your senior years alone and you find yourself alone much of the time.  The problem of loneliness is chronic in senior citizens so it’s good to get out ahead of it so it doesn’t cause serious problems the longer it goes on.

The negatives of loneliness in senior citizens are well known.  Excessive loneliness can easily lead to a sense of isolation, desperation and depression.  This can result in substance abuse or worse if the senior citizen doesn’t find a way to fight back against that feeling of being alone.  It is easy if you are in your house that used to be filled with children to feel abandoned and resentful when your day passes with no human contact.  If you have relocated to an assisted living center or nursing home, the problem may be even worse as you don’t have the comfort of familiar surroundings.

But to feel sorry for yourself and blame your children for not coming to see you is not a healthy way to fight this enemy.  Yes, your children should call or come see you more often.  But short of moving in with you or you with them, the problem of loneliness will have to be solved by you and using other means.  It may seem like a simplistic answer to loneliness but the beginning of solving these problems is a simple prescription which is – Get Out of the House!

If waiting in your house or apartment for people to bring companionship to you has not worked so far, it probably isn’t going to.  So you have to get out there and engage life directly.  If you can become proactive and take command of the situation, you will find that opportunities to find friendship and companionship are diverse and abundant.  Among some of the ways you can get in the company of other people are…

  • Senior citizen functions.  If you are in an assisted living or retirement home, there are events being planned all the time for you to get out and meet your neighbors.  But even if that is not your living arrangement, most local communities have senior centers that have as one of their primary missions in life to provide a social outlet for senior citizens.  So use that resource to its fullest.
  • Volunteering.  There are so many excellent ways for you to volunteer at church, with civic groups or in the arts that you can stay continuously busy.  Not only do you get the gratification of doing something good for others, you get out and meet people which is a sure cure for loneliness.  St Angela Merici Residence is always looking for volunteers to be companions for some of our residents.
  • Church.  If you are active in your church, they always have ways for you to be involved during the day.  Some of them will be volunteer opportunities but others might just be attending a good bible study or social time with your Sunday School class.
  • Pitch in with the grandkids.  This is a wonderful way to get out.  You love those grandkids and by giving your children a way to get out and leave them in a trusted place, you do them good and get tons of great play time with those sweet children.

These are just a few great ways for you to get out and meet people who will welcome you with open arms.  These are areas of life that are eager for an enthusiastic Grandma or Grandpa to jump in feet first and get involved.  Getting involved means staying busy and staying busy means never feeling lonely again. And that is the permanent cure for loneliness.



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