If I asked you to name a few of the things that could shorten your life expectancy, what would you say? Obesity? Smoking? Drinking too much? What you probably wouldn’t mention is loneliness. This is a shame because we are in the middle of a loneliness epidemic… and it is a silent killer of older adults. Today, I want to talk about this problem and offer a few potential solutions. I hope you will join us! Come join us for a cup of tea (or coffee) and a chat. And, if you enjoy the show, please tell one friend about us today. Your support means so much to me!
I was leaning back in my chair laughing so hard that I nearly fell over. My belly hurt. The six of us at our table were nearly in hysterics. It took us several minutes to get under control before the conversation continued. All of us wiped laughter tears from our cheeks. We couldn’t wait for the next story.
I listened to a program about loneliness and was struck by how much of it there is in society today. We’ve become isolated by the very technology that was designed to connect us.
Over the last few decades, governments across the world have taken an increasingly active role in promoting public health. They encourage flu shots, help to coordinate responses to epidemics, invest in basic science and more specialized medical research and create a safety net for low income families that need access to doctors.
We can be sailing along just fine – independent, self-contained, pursuing our own interests, plenty of friends, regular contact with family members, and then boom! – the holidays come upon us and we feel like our ship starts to sink.
A new study saying that loneliness and social isolation are a major health hazard is no surprise to millions of people who are alone and lonely. Not having the fundamental human experience of connectedness is painful and even dangerous, especially if you are older.
The concept of aging alone occurred to me after helping my older parents with challenges like cleaning the house, meal preparation, shopping, driving to doctor’s appointments and medical treatments, and even managing medications.
As we age, we become more and more aware of our health and what our bodies need for us to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We try to eat better. We try to exercise. We try to take our vitamins and drink more water. But could we be missing out on something that impacts our health even greater?
So, you are starting over on a new path and you are killing it! You are happy, you are fulfilled and you are living the life you have always dreamed of living. But, no matter how much you keep telling yourself how great your new life is, you are lonely. Yep, there are times when you are crushingly lonely.
When you are recovering from divorce after a long-term marriage, loneliness is definitely an obstacle that keeps you from moving on. We get stuck in this mindset because it makes us feel like we have nobody in the world.