Loneliness is a major problem for older people. Generally as we age we get more isolated which can lead to loneliness and a downward cycle into depression. It’s worthwhile taking steps to avoid this path.
- Recognise the situation. If you (or your parents) have no close friends, rarely leave the house, spend most days alone, don’t meet new people or attend social functions, it’s time to take stock. There are some things you can’t change, but there are also some steps you can take.
- Make a plan to tackle your antisocial habits. Identifying the habits that isolate you and work on them one at a time to break down barriers.
- Focus on others and be curious. Rather than focus on your own feelings or insecurities, show some interest in others and they will likely respond positively. People like talking about themselves, so ask questions about them, show interest.
- Use technology to stay connected. While old friends and relatives may live far away, modern technology makes it easy to keep in touch. Facebook, emails, skype, Facetime are easy and cheap to use and there are people that teach older people how to use these technologies.
- Be a volunteer – it is a great way to meet people. It’s good for self- esteem and enables us to give back to the community. Most councils have a list of organisations seeking volunteers.
- Sign up for a class. What subjects interest you? It’s likely there are classes teaching that subject at your community college or U3A. Attending classes with other older people interested in learning more about a subject that interests you is a great way to meet new people. It’s also very good for our mental health.
- Join a club or association. Several social groups cater for older people. Council could probably give you a list. Some of the national organisations with regional branches are Probus, COTA, National Seniors.
Further details: www.retirementbooks.com.au
This article was adapted from an article written by Cyn Meyer which appeared on the Next Avenue web site.