One of the most common misconceptions about loneliness is that it goes away as we add more people to our lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, many people that I know have 100’s of “friends” on Facebook. They may even live with someone else. But, they still feel lonely.
The Internet is probably the greatest purveyor of communication since the printing press. Thanks to that brilliant invention, the world is now virtually connected with the click of a mouse.
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.
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.
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.