Seniors face many challenges, they have financial constraints, difficulty finding work, have problems driving and getting around, deal with chronic illnesses, and if those weren’t enough, so many older adults suffer from loneliness. For the issue of being alone and lonely–do we have more control of feeling isolated than we want to admit? In the elder orphan Facebook group, I hear some members say they are very lonely — while others admit to being alone but rarely lonely. Dealing with Loneliness
Even for me, where I live (in a highrise surrounded by close neighbors,) I experience few residents who never make eye contact while others will stop in the hallways and strike up conversations. I wonder, in some cases, are we our worse enemies? Maybe, if we learn to make contact, talk with people even those we don’t know, would that help us feel more engaged and less lonely?
I posed the question to my Facebook group, and members responded with useful tips and suggestions:
No, it isn’t easy to connect with total strangers. But it gets easier over time even if you’re an introvert. I was able to change my approach with people, even being when being shy. Here’s how I changed my introvert behavior to an inclusive approach:
After a month of doing this, I’m amazed by how I felt. It was a fulfilling experience and I felt more engaged. Years later, today, I have conversations with strangers at the bus stop, waiting in the checkout lines — no matter where I go (most times) I don’t feel alone because I know, a conversation and connection is right there waiting to happen. Dealing with Loneliness
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