Sunday, December 19, 2010

Loneliness and Seniors

Of all forms of diseases and problems that man faces, loneliness is the worst. Loneliness can lead to both physical and psychological illness. Back in 2008, US News published a great article about "Why Loneliness is Bad for Your Health". Loneliness results in social and physical issues like alcoholism, blood pressure, stress, cardiovascular disease etc.

In the senior care industry, we often find that companion care is about 70% of the service needs. Mary Ann, a client of mine (not the real name), calls me at least 4-5 times a day. She always calls to talk about some problem or the other. However, the truth of the matter is that there are no real problems that needs to be addressed. So than what is the problem that we are trying to solve? It is loneliness. Mary Ann calls to connect with me, in some ways I am her life line.When she comes on the line, she stays with me for about an hour. Bless her heart, she just needs to talk to someone.

The feeling is felt more acutely during the holiday season. The media highlights all the fun and warmth of companionship, the joy of giving and sharing. Seniors who are lonely find this the hardest of all the seasons. Mark (not the real name), another client of mine asked me where I am with my Christmas shopping. He lingered on a bit longer to add that he is not doing any shopping this time. He does not have any known friend, relative or kids. I met Mark, when he was getting discharged from a nursing home. "Son, I am going home to die" were the first words he said. Mark had a very successful life and he lived his life to the fullest. Never married and he has outlived all his friends and family.

There are things that we can do to improve this situation. To start with we can all connect with one senior in our community. Visit them, share some time with them, bring them a nice wine or something appropriate. I cam across another excellent article about seniors and loneliness in this holiday season,"Adults and Seniors Combating Loneliness This Holiday Season", Companionship is priceless and we need to realize that we are all rich in our resources to provide companionship. Make a difference in one life, that is all it takes.  Have a great holiday season everyone.

No comments:

Post a Comment