Perhaps I am the wrong person to answer this question because I work in a facility that caters to people over fifty.
The program is so popular, there is a waiting list to get into the classes. While the majority of our clients are retired, these individuals are busy within their community and very engaged with family and friends. In fact, it can be hard to get together with them outside of work, because their schedules are so full!
That being said, I was listening to The Current yesterday on CBC Radio with Anna Marian Tremonti, and she stated that according to Stats Candada, “1.4 million elderly Canadians report feeling lonely.” (October 27, ’16)
The show began with a sound clip of a 93 year old woman describing how all of her friends have passed away, and the kids are not willing to give up their time. I am certain that this is a common problem that is going to grow worse before it gets better.
My elderly parents have both passed as well but at one point I had three jobs, three teenagers and two ailing parents that needed me to shop and clean for them. I was at their place two to three times per week and if I could not be there, it was not a matter of choice. There simply wasn’t enough of me.
Ms. Tremonti was interviewing author and writer, Kio Stark, about her new book, “When Strangers Meet: How People You Don’t Know Can Transorm You.”
The suggestion was that we need to start talking more to strangers. We need to fill the silent gap with smiles and conversation and stop fearing the unknown, because there are too many of us suffering from loneliness in silence.
Whenever I have stepped out of my comfort zone to talk to a stranger, my life has been enriched. Even more so if the person was elderly.
Start a conversation today.
See you next week.