At Senior Care Story we typically write and post content aimed at keeping seniors and their families informed of today’s trending topics. However one topic that I wanted to write on today applies to many adults, and not just seniors. The topic I am referring to is loneliness, and in some cases isolation. It is challenging for many people to understand why others would feel lonely in a world full with technology and connectivity. However I believe that it is safe to say that sometimes the technical innovations the world has developed have only increased the opportunities for people to have feelings of loneliness that can lead to depression.
Technology has depleted the need for face to face interactions, hand written communications, and even voice communications over the past few years. I am not saying that I hate technology. In fact that truth is just the opposite. I work in marketing, and deal with technology everyday to make my work day more productive, and have a bigger impact on our organizational goals. What I am saying though is the world is changing quickly, and it is key that people maintain healthy, and meaningful relationships to avoid loneliness.
How can we fight loneliness today
I had the opportunity to read an interesting article on Fortune earlier in the week that talked about loneliness, and how it is an epidemic on the rise. The Forbes article mentioned that in a AARP study from 2010 between 40 – 45% reported feeling lonely. It is mind boggling to think that just about 1 out of 2 people feel lonely in their everyday life. So the question becomes how can we combat loneliness, and avoid social isolation. The answer to that question is not straightforward as it depends on the individual’s situation, but their are a few steps that we can take to fight isolation.
Find a way to express your feelings of loneliness
One of the best ways to identify your feelings, and express those feelings to your friends, and family is to write them down. Writing down your feelings will allow you to keep track of your emotions, and create a plan on how to address them. I recommend getting a journal and just jotting down the ups and downs you are facing day after day. I found in my own life when looking through these daily posts I had more positive days than negative days. It is important to realize that their seems to be a relationship between depression and feelings of loneliness. The journal will help you address the root of the issue, and develop a game plan moving forward.
Get out of your comfort zone
Meeting new people and getting away from the feelings of loneliness will involve a person getting out of their comfort zone. Even though technology has depleted the need for face to face interactions there are still plenty of ways to meet new people and develop lasting relationships. Think of things that you enjoy doing, or causes that interest you, and look for local groups who are interested in the same activities. If you have access to a computer there is a great website called meetup that can be used to find local groups based on interests. Another great way to get out of your comfort zone is to spend some time volunteering in the community. All communities are constantly looking for volunteers just like you who can make an impact. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities that can be found online.
Embrace change in the world around you
As I discussed in the beginning on this blog post the way people communicate is constantly changing. There is an opportunity to embrace the changes, and find new ways of utilize new technologies. Social networking can be an option for meeting new people, and developing both online and offline friendships. In my own life I have been able to leverage technologies to make my job easier and more efficient at work. By doing so I have free’d up extra time to be able to enjoy the things I love outside of the office.
You are not alone in your feelings of loneliness. Remember that their is always hope, and avenues for improving your situation. Take advantage of the resources you have, and get outside of your comfort zone to develop new relationships, and experiences. Embrace the life that you have today. Do you have suggestions for how to combat loneliness? Comment with your suggestions, and insights for others below.