Saturday, September 18, 2021
 Emotional And Mental Health

Challenging And Confronting Loneliness As An Older Adult

Senior man with his hand on his head looking dejected.

Getting older can be a time of loneliness for varied reasons. 

  • Retirement, leaving the workplace, losing lifelong connections, 
  • Death of a partner or a cohort of friends, 
  • Being on the periphery and no longer amid things, not surrounded by family and friends. 
  • Even disability or illness can be a factor as you get older, unsteady, or unsure of yourself, and physically isolated. 

Loneliness can make you feel discarded, alone, and unwelcome. When loneliness exists, there can be embarrassment, feelings of vulnerability, uncomfortableness, and having hurt pride. 

Understanding the effects of loneliness on your life helps you to make the necessary changes. Psychological health is affected adversely is also one of the symptoms of depression. Increased stress increase anxiety.

 Prolonged loneliness can lead to sleep problems, excess alcohol use, and varied health issues. A decline in physical health and well-being  

To ward off loneliness, one of your health goals must be its removal. Do not be afraid because of pride, to not ask for help. Make conscious efforts on your part to reach out and change your lonely mindset.

Ways to Manage Senior Loneliness:

  • Reach out, staying put and hidden indoors is physically and socially isolating. You may find it awkward or challenging to reach out when you are lonely. But only you can change your lonely state of mind. 
  • Smiling makes a difference so, smile every chance you get. Share a smile even if you must force it. Smiling stimulates your brain to release natural feel-good chemicals. Smiles make you feel good, elevates your mood, and are contagious. Your smiles will lead to smiles from those around you. 
  • If you live alone, are feeling down and lonely, extend an invite to a friend or family member to meet or visit for tea or coffee.
  • Do not just be glued to using your house phone. In addition to your regular home phone, also learn about other current telecommunication devices. A cell phone, a computer are helpful tools to reduce feelings of loneliness. They provide both sounds as well as virtual visual contact.  
  • In these times owning, a computer can bridge the divide if your friends and family live far away. Staying in touch using a personal computer or tablet to share emails and photos, family history with family and friends keeps you connected. 
  • Utilize free video chats like Skype, FaceTime to reconnect with old friends. Also, use social media sites such as Facebook or a Twitter site.
  • Libraries often hold training courses for older persons to learn basic computer skills. You can get helpful info on using smartphones, computers, tablet computers, and email to become even more confident using the internet.
  • Get involved in local community activities. Discover what is going on in your immediate local area. If you find something to like or are interested in, decide to become a part of it.  
  • Check out organizations at the regional and national that hold social events, get involved, or attend in person or virtually. Just remember learning is a lifelong activity.
  • Through such events, you gain contact to meet new people, interact, and spend time with others. 
  • If you are nervous or unsure of what to say when you meet someone for the first time, you can start to break down barriers. Take the lead by asking people about themselves, a favorite topic of conversation for most people talking about self to connect and share ideas. 
  • Do not always expect rejection from someone, center on positive thoughts and attitudes in your social interactions.
  • If you cannot get around without help, reach out for assistance. Either free or at reasonable transport costs is available for older persons with mobility issues. Or you live in areas with scarce public transport.
  • Think about volunteering. Use the knowledge and experience you have acquired over your lifetime to share or give to others in your community. Many volunteering opportunities are pleased to accept the qualities, skills, and expertise of older people.
  •  Seek out organizations or people who share similar attitudes, interests, and values with you. You can also benefit by meeting people and making new friends.
  • There are friendly volunteer helplines where volunteers enjoy talking to older people. It is a service you can use.