Everyone experiences loneliness sometimes. But despite the world being more connected than ever, many of us find that loneliness in old age and it becomes a long term part of our lives.
Not only can it be unpleasant, but it can take a heavy toll on our health, especially for the elderly. The lonely are far more prone to depression and a landmark study discovered sufferers have a 64% greater risk of developing dementia.
The emotional stress linked to loneliness is also thought to cause physical health issues such as a weakened immune system. Being lonely can also lead to apathy, which a 2014 report found can actually shrink brain size. Dealing with loneliness is not easy, but if you or a loved one are struggling with it, there are many ways you can overcome it.
Here are some great tips for tackling loneliness in old age.
Find A Project To Tackle Loneliness
Keeping busy is a great way of tackling loneliness. And a perfect way to keep busy is to find a big project to occupy and drive you on.
It’s often said we all have a book inside us, waiting to be written. What better project than writing the most important story of all – your story! Strolling down memory lane and reliving happy times and memories is so good for your mental health, while writing your story can open up and deepen your relationships with your family.
Sharing your story with them will fight off feelings of loneliness – take a family member out for a meal or a drink – and reminisce with them and you’ll make new and deeper connections.
We’ve all thought of turning our memories and experiences into words but actually putting pen to paper can be daunting! But no need to worry – LifeBook Memoirs – the world’s leading private memoir and autobiography service can help.
Our expert and friendly team will take all the strain away, working with you to write a stunning, handmade book that will bring you closer to your family and give them a gift they will treasure forever.
Contact us today to find out more about starting your own memoir.
Connect With Others Through Groups
People are by nature social animals who need to connect to others. If not combatted head-on, loneliness can become a trap increasingly difficult to break out of.
A great way of tackling loneliness is to get involved in activities and interests that you enjoy. Join a club, take a class or head to the gym. If you’ve always fancied learning a new skill but never got round to it, then now’s the time.
Learn a language or an instrument, or a craft. As long as it involves other people, you’ll make many new friends. There are many groups local to you.
If you’re not sure where to start – check out Meetup – a brilliant site where you can find countless groups across the country with similar interests to you. There is a community out there waiting for you.
Tackle Loneliness By Volunteering
A wonderful way to meet new people, with the added benefit of helping others. Volunteering for a charity or cause close to your heart will boost your confidence and self-esteem.
Assist at a food bank or in a charity shop – there are many ways you can use your skills and your time – and it won’t cost you a penny!
Volunteering will reduce your feelings of isolation and will keep you active and busy. You’ll also find a strong sense of purpose – altruism is fantastic for your emotional well-being. Whatever you choose to do, this is a great tip for tackling loneliness.
Use Technology to Tackle Loneliness in Old Age
Technology can be a brilliant tool for combatting loneliness. The social isolation during the pandemic and the various lockdowns that have come with it has been hugely mitigated by video calling platforms.
Zoom, Facetime and Skype allow us to stay connected with our loved ones and friends, no matter where they are. Make regular appointments to chat with the people you love using these platforms.
Social media, used in the correct way, can also be very helpful. It’s a great way to stay connected and there are also countless interest groups on platforms like Facebook.
Whatever your passion, you’ll find people all over the world who love the same things as you. There are also many online communities you can join – but always remember to be safe when online. Unfortunately, there are many fraudsters with fake profiles out there, looking to steal your information and empty your pockets.
Look After Your Physical Health
Loneliness can occasionally be unavoidable. When this is the case, you need to focus positively and not allowing yourself to fall into the trap it can create.
Physical activity is always effective in lifting your mood and boosting your energy levels. Although you might not feel like it, you never regret exercise after you’ve done it.
As we’ve mentioned, going to a gym class or other group activity is a great way to meet new friends and will help in tackling loneliness. But even when alone, gentle exercise will trigger feel-good endorphins in the brain.
Meanwhile, getting out in the sunshine can do the same thing (always lotion up on hot days!).
You are certainly not alone in feeling lonely, it affects millions of people around the world.
But if you are suffering from it, there are many great ways you can tackle loneliness.
The above tips are only a handful of strategies you can use to deal with it. By following them, you can meet new people, strengthen the bonds you already have and look after your mental and physical health at the same time.
Even when you are alone, you need not be lonely.