Being Alone & Being Lonely Are Not the Same

In caregiving, Health on November 22, 2011 at 2:59 am

Being alone means being on your own. Being lonely usually refers to being unhappy with the emotional and social relationships that you do not have or with the ones you do have. It has a lot to do with feeling connected with people.

Growing older means dealing with a lot of changes including health and lifestyle. It can mean moving away from a community or having fewer opportunities to develop new friendships. Physical pain and loss of mobility can make it harder for older adults to get out and enjoy activities with other people. Even if you live with family it can be lonely. Our society does not always make seniors feel good about themselves.

Loneliness can be stressful and is very hard on a person’s health. Did you know that being lonely puts a person’s immune system under stress making it more likely to develop colds and infections?

Personal Strategies for Preventing or Reducing Loneliness:

Start with a smile. The quickest way to make a friend and it doesn’t cost you a dime.
Say “Hi”. Take a moment to speak with someone.
Reach out to others. Take the initiative to invite someone to go with you for a short walk or to have a cup of tea with you.
Be a friend and show interest in others. Everyone wants to be around people who are nice to them.
Take a chance on developing new relationships at any age.
Help someone with something. Anything you are able to do for another person.
Keep connected with others. Try to get to activities or just make regular visits with neighbors and/or family.

Test Yourself:

Do I have someone in my life who understands me? Yes No
Do I have someone I can easily talk to? Yes No
Have I felt close to someone for a long time? Yes No
Do I have a network of friends? Yes No
Do I like my life the way it is? Yes No

If you answered “No” to one or more of these questions, loneliness may be affecting your life.

Routinely assess our community. How senior friendly is it? What services are available to you? Regular telephone contact can increase feelings of security and show that people care. It can give a senior someone to connect to or unburden to about what they are going through. It provides a person-to-person link where the senior might not feel physically, emotionally, socially or financially up to having visitors.

You’re First provides reassurance services for less than $1 a day. We make that daily connection via telephone because we know how important it is!

We also provide canine companionship to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness. We bring the canine right to you wherever home is.

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