Monday, March 8, 2010

Why Do Senior Citizens Feel Lonely?

First of all let us understand what loneliness is. Loneliness is a
feeling of inner emptiness and a feeling of loss, loss of someone and,
in a way, loss of ourselves. Loneliness is a sate of mind about
neediness – wanting people to want you and desiring to have persons
whom you can show love understanding and consideration. It is the need
to have some persons to share your thoughts, aspirations and worries
or anxieties. Loneliness is definitely something more than having
mere acquaintances or friends. It is the gap between expectations and
what you are getting in terms of your relationship with people. You
may feel lonely despite being in a busy entertainment program, while
partying or on a vacation trip when you actually supposed to be
enjoying the fun.

What causes loneliness, especially in older people? After retirement,
even family members do not have time for the retiree. You feel let
down and short changed. Relatives become sort of strangers. Grand
children may avoid you saying that you are boring. Spouses may get
separated as a result of, being away taking care of grandchildren in
far off places, divorcing, dying etc. Another reason for feeling
lonely is comparison with others – looking at friends who are
relatively better off and happy and feeling miserable.

How can senior citizens handle this situation? Here are some tips:

1. Organize your life in a structured manner. This leads to time bound
action, leaving not much time to brood over loneliness.
2. If you are inclined, keep a pet – a cat or a dog. They give love
that no human being can give. Their understanding of you is far
superior. Pets are most useful to senior citizens.
3. Develop self esteem and increase your self worth. Start liking
yourself. Do not think of negatives. Pamper yourself. Like the Byline
of L'Oreille Advertisement says: "Because you're worth it"
4. Develop a belief that it is OK to be alone. Go for long walks
alone in a forest or a beach.
Lie down all alone in the night in the terrace, gazing into the
silent sky studded with stars.
5. Join various groups – Senior Citizens Associations, Clubs,
Discussion groups on the Internet, Day Care Centers etc. Discover
6. Volunteer your services in geriatric wards of hospitals, NGOs
working for elders etc
7. Start learning something new. Drawing, painting, writing, yoga,
meditation, languages, and computers – the list is endless. Join any
U3A club in your area.
8. Do you have a purpose in life? If you have discovered it already
follow it up with fresh passion. Become enthusiastic by faking
enthusiasm in the beginning.
9. Are you religious? Pray, rather, talk to God on a regular basis and
pour out your problems.
10. Most importantly try to live in the present. Never think of past
or future. Trust Eckhart Tolle when he says: There is only present,
NOW. Living in the present moment solves all problems, including


  1. I can add further-keep yourself busy with as many tasks (household as well as social)as possible.
    Do not unneceaserily interfere or poke your nose in the matter of young siblings unless asked far as fas as possible, you will be at peace.

  2. "It is the gap between expectations and
    what you are getting in terms of your relationship with people."

    Haven't seen a better definition of loneliness till date. Simple, yet so true.

  3. Its really scary situation most humans need to face in life . Nice suggestions

  4. Loneliness comes from being very self-centred, having poor communication skills, incorrect understanding of people and friction occurring in many conversations.

    Developing love towards all, being kind, being helpful, thinking on the lines 'sarve janaah sukhino bhavanthu' and acting thereby, is the sure remedy for driving out loneliness.

  5. I feel some of this loneliness can be avoided if one has always had some interests or passions, and a socially active life.

    And another very useful activity is Yoga classes or Gym (or reiki or any health related activity). My dad found a whole new group of friends through his yoga group - every weekend they met, and enjoyed a pot luck brunch in the park :)