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.
According to the AARP, 51 percent of people over 75 live alone. That’s 15 million people in the U.S., including 27 percent over 65. Of those numbers, 26 percent face an increased risk of death due to subjective feeling of loneliness.
Most boomer women have a strong work ethic and derive a great sense of identity from their work. After all, many of us started working when we were 15 and have worked for 45 years, so when work ends, there is often a huge void in our lives. This leaves many of us looking for ways to avoid loneliness in retirement.
Caregivers are usually dependable, persistent, detailed, vigilant – and seemingly tireless. But not many people would characterize caregivers as lonely. Yet as a caregiver, I have experienced many periods of loneliness. Depending on your circumstances, you may feel the same way.
Being an aging single introvert, I find that I am now more confident in recognizing and stating my need to be alone. At the same time, when I’m in a social setting, I’m also more confident than I used to be – maybe because I have had the time to recharge my inner battery.
Turning a new chapter as your children leave home can be a powerful moment to claim who you are more fully and explore new horizons for your life!
There’s no question that having a support system and a sense of community is important as we get older. Face-to-face friendships matter. Study after study report that friendships are vital to longevity, and to our physical and mental health.
Much has been written about loneliness in recent months – and not just about the elderly who find themselves alone in later life.
I’ve been busy since my mother passed away three months ago. I have been re-orienting myself to a new status: A Parentless Adult.