Dealing with LONELINESS before it becomes problematic

Dealing With Loneliness in Old Age
Based on material by Ian McClymont
“Pensioner Fitness”


Loneliness
Loneliness in old age is an understandable problem and a likely issue with many older adults. Family members might have moved out of the house and are far away. Old friends and work acquaintances may no longer be in the picture. Even worse, many peers may no longer be around because they have passed away.

However, you do not have to let isolation and loneliness consume you. You can change your life, make it better and give yourself the positive mindset and attitude that you deserve. There are a number of ways you can keep social isolation at bay, and avoid loneliness and isolation. Dealing with loneliness is easier to do than you might think. It is a matter of mental and physical effort along with determination and motivation.

6 Tips for Dealing With Loneliness in Old Age

  1. Explore Things Around You

Exploration will help with loneliness in old age.

Explore where you live
To avoid social isolation and improve your health and well-being: get out and see more things where you are. Visit a local park. Walkabout in a nearby shopping center. Be aware of what you see, and maybe even journal it. As you become familiar with the local areas, expand your exploration sites, the next community area, and the next town. Wherever it may be, you are just expanding your world of exploration.

As you explore, should someone approach you to greet you or talk briefly? Be inviting welcoming their connection. You never know what you will discover or learn. As the saying goes, ‘the world is your oyster’ and your shucking the shell.

  1. Focus On Your Health

Focus and protect your Health especially when lonely in old age. One of the greatest problems with isolation and loneliness is that it causes people to ignore their health and well-being—both physical and psychological well-being. Lonely people often feel as though no one cares about them. This may lead to other problems such as drinking, smoking or finding gratification in unhealthy food.

Keep yourself as active as possible. Be as physically active as you can be. You don’t have to become a gym member. Walk, walk in the park, walk around the block, walk around the neighbourhood….just walk. Again, journal your walking. How long did you walk? What kind of day was it? What did you wear that was comfortable and supported the walking? Are you wearing the right shoes for walking? When did you walk? Are certain times better than others? Why? Who did you meet? Did they talk to you? About what? That’s just the neighbourhood.

Try different neighbourhoods, different places, a shopping mall, and the grocery store. And always record what happened so that later on you can refer to your journal to review your past walks.

One great part of being healthy is that it stimulates your brain. Good physical health often means more and healthier brain activity. As your health improves, your mental out improves. You become more aware, more responsive and more interested in life around you. More importantly, your brain will start to release hormones that make you feel positive about yourself and more in control over your body. Surprisingly, your energy level changes. You’ll become more energetic.

  1. Be More Creative

Creativity helps to beat loneliness especially as you age. Many people like to be creative as they get older. Some write, some paint, some sculpt, some play instruments, some just sing. Whatever you enjoy, let the creativity sparks sparkle. Let it flow. Try different creative things. Writing your journal is a very personal and creative activity. Contact your local community center to learn what they offer in terms of activities and programs. If you access to a computer, search your local region for creative activity possibilities. But always log what you find for future reference.

A creative person is always someone who thinks more about the many great things one can do rather than the limitations that restrict them. You will be surprised by what you learn about yourself and what you can do. Always remember, you are an intelligent person as well as a physical one. Limitations on one side of you may be balanced but greater possibilities on the other. Expand your view, open your mind.

  1. Be Appreciative

Thinking positively in old age is your greatest weapon against loneliness. As people age, it becomes increasingly difficult to avoid thinking that one is done with one’s life. This kind of thinking leads to more corrosive thinking: what have I achieved? What have I done right? Wrong? The door to regret and negativism opens where it shouldn’t. Some might even think about what they wish they could have done. This leads to more loneliness as the feeling of failure creeps in and regret begins to move people away from others.

You have to be more accepting of your life but, more importantly, every person has achieved positive things in their life, somewhere, somehow. It isn’t important to find these things. It is more important to believe they exist and that the time has come for you to move on to new chapters of life, chapters which you control and which you are now writing.

Be positive. Be optimistic. Work constructively towards a goal, even small goals but be aware that you control the process. You choose the path, the where, the when and the what. More importantly, you control the pace. No one can tell you your pace is wrong. You are the captain of your ship. Manage it with the thinking and control of which you are capable.

If you want to look back, do so with a positive lens. What are the things you have done that you feel are positive? Have added to your life? Make you feel good? This is not an examination of the negative which is a futile exercise. You cannot change the past but can learn from it. Learn what has been positive and constructive in your past and ask yourself what you want to do with that information.

  1. Consider Volunteering

Volunteering can give you great opportunities in dealing with loneliness in old age. Volunteers are needed in many places in your community: hospitals, seniors’ homes, churches, and community centres. Search and you will find.

Again, avoid using a microscope to analyze what you believe you can or cannot do. Find the opportunities and enlist. You’ll be surprised by the result. You will likely end up volunteering successfully in an area that will surprise you and which you never expected.

Pick volunteer opportunities where you will be assisting others but expand your view as to the opportunities in which you can enrol. Rather than thinking about what you can do, think more of when you are available for doing something. Phone the home, the hospital the community centre and ask. They need you and you need them in your loneliness battle.

  1. Adopt A Pet

 

 

 

Pets give more than they receive. They give affection, companionship, feedback, and love. They will make you laugh, make you think twice, make you smile and make you feel good. They will greet you at the door like you’ve been gone for months, though you just went out to get some milk. Mind you, I am talking about a dog, not a cat, not a budgie, although a budgie will surprise you with how it responds to you.

A pet means more than just companionship. It’s about responsibilities, commitment and caring. It will make you feel positive about your life. Families treat their pets as key members of the family for many reasons. Also, the love that a pet provides to a family is always unconditional. A pet will never criticize someone. A pet is always accepting of people for who they are. Pets never judge people and are always there even during the toughest of times in life.

A dog is likely the most responsive pet to own but a dog is also very demanding. Every pet entails commitment and responsibilities and will return to you and will be repaid in spades. But a dog requires outdoor walking, at least once a day. But any pet requires you to feed it, maintain its living quarters, and more. When you care for your pet, you will also develop a sense of meaning in your life and you will once again feel that there is someone in your life that depends on you and cares about you.

In choosing a pet, consider your own capabilities in making your choice though once you commit to a pet, your capacity for doing things will grow, surprisingly.

In Conclusion
Loneliness and depression, as well as psychological well-being, do not have to be a burden in your life as you age. Evaluate and assess yourself in light of the facets above. Deal with loneliness with confidence, positiveness and constructiveness and you will bring more comfort to your life.

Remember everyone is different. Different things work for different people. You may need to review and evaluate a number of possible solutions before you find the one that works best for you.

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