Now, before we proceed further, we must understand that there is a difference between loneliness and solitude. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, solitude means, "a state or situation in which you are alone usually because you want to be." The definition of lonely is, "sad from being apart from other people; causing sad feelings that come from being apart from other people." Solitude is refreshing to the soul, often taken by someone in order to reflect. Loneliness is not a chosen state and is disheartening to the soul.
What can we do?
If you know an elderly person - maybe a relative, friend or client - who is battling loneliness, these tips might help them remain connected and in better health:
- Stay in regular contact with them.
- Visit them often.
- Teach them how to use technology (ie. ipad, cellphone, email, skype) to help stay in contact with others.
- Help them connect with people at the local senior center, church, book club etc. Get them plugged in with a community of people, or senior resources.
- Attend favored activities with them.
- Hire a companion to come on regularly scheduled visits.
- If you live far away, hire caregivers, or a care manager to help your loved one with ADLs and interactions.
- Help them find a hobby they enjoy and can poor themselves into when someone can't always be there.
We can make a difference.