A new study, which was conducted by the University of California, San Diego, asked questions to a group of seniors at a retirement home about how they cope with loneliness — and their answers are quite beautiful.
The researchers interviewed people aged between 65 and 92 to find out what it is that makes them feel lonely, along with advice on how they overcome it. 'Our study is the first one to examine loneliness in senior housing communities, which are structured and operated with a goal of promoting social activities,' explains the researchers.
'These findings open up the opportunity to reflect on the current social environment these housing communities offer and how small changes in their social activities could effectively increase meaning and purpose of life for individuals.'
As we search for ways to reduce isolation in our communities, wisdom from the older generation is certainly worth cherishing. Find out what they had to say below...
Beautiful and incredibly simple, one of the participants in the study said that showing compassion to others will help you to overcome loneliness. 'Another technique that I had for years is, if you're feeling lonely, then go out and do something for somebody else. That's proactive,' explained the participant.
2. Seeking companionship
Wonderfully, another lady in the study explained she fights isolation by going to make new friends.'I felt lonely because I chose to stay away from people because I was sick, but I felt alone for a while and said to myself: 'did I make the right move?' As soon as I started getting involved, everybody has welcomed me for the most part,' she says.
3. Acceptance of circumstances
One man told the researchers that he had to accept his circumstances, but found this to help him. 'Well, it's something I have to accept and there's no use being afraid of it. I used to mountain climb. If I can't walk anymore, I'll crawl, so you have to learn how to be realistic and not brood about it. I know I'm getting older but I consider life as a transition,' he says.
4. Make use of the opportunities around you
The study discovered that the senior home had plenty of opportunities for residents to get involved in — but not everyone was interested. One man said making use of what's around you — whether that's classes or group activities — will help you to stop feeling lonely.
'We have pool tables here, so I can play a game of pool with someone. Or I'll go down to the lobby where I can find somebody down there to talk to, or even the library. I just have to get up and do something.'
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