Dealing With Loneliness
And How To Combat It
As we are Gracefully Greying, loneliness can be an issue. This is especially true if we have lost a spouse, a significant other, or good friends. Grief, depression, and loneliness often go hand in hand. Recognizing our feelings and developing ways to deal with loneliness are extremely important.
Feeling isolated and losing control of your physical or mental or cognitive environment are all reasons for depression and loneliness. This can be a result of many factors including moving out of a home and into an assisted living facility, having to stop driving, or having friends and family move away. Grief following the loss of a loved one or close friend is important - many believe that it takes at least a year of going through life cycle events such as birthdays, anniversaries and holidays to fully mourn the loss of a loved one. As people age, they often have a feeling of helplessness - that their days are more and more numbered, which can lead to a feeling of depression and isolation.
What are some antidotes? Having a good therapist is recommended. Making new friends and relationships and staying active and busy can also help. If you are suffering from a serious or terminal illness, try to come to terms with it. Look for positives if at all possible, even if they are small. If you are moving to an assisted living facility, look at it as a way to make new friends and acquaintances and embrace the activities that are offered. Try to stay in touch with friends and family through modern technology such as Skype, Zoom, texting, and emails, and through the old-fashioned way of picking up the phone and reaching out to family and friends - don’t wait for them to come to you. Let go of grudges and grievances and remember that life is short.
While this may be easier said than done, look for positives rather than negatives in people and situations. Live every day as fully as you can and try to be positive. Look at the glass as half full rather than half empty. AgingInPlace.org published an interesting article 6 things To Do When Dealing With Loneliness At An Old Age which taps into positive actions such as exploration, creativity, paying attention to your health, volunteering, being appreciative toward others, and even adopting a pet.
During this dreadful time of the Coronavirus, please take the time to view this interview with Psychiatrist Joel Young of the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine, as he discusses how to protect your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to view the interview.
We would love to hear from you - please share your experiences and tips with us, as we build gracefully greying together.