Our July/August topic for conversation is Connection & Loneliness. Connection to ourselves or others has many different meanings or understandings for each of us and loneliness can be a really debilitating and heart-breaking phase of life, particularly in our elder years. We are exploring what effect connection may have on loneliness, the possible link between them and the ways in which we might address this sense of ‘feeling alone’.
We know that loneliness has tended to be a significant factor of growing older for many elders and can be the result of situations such as one’s own ill health or that of a partner, or impaired mobility. It can also be a period where the network of family and friends has diminished due to having to manage their own ageing issues. All of which can result in a sense that our world or lifestyle sphere has become smaller, less safe and out of touch with the world outside our door.
In her article, Loneliness as We Age, Lynne talks about her mother’s loneliness during the early stages of dementia and how a sense of purpose gave her mother a reprieve, ‘Spending time with this gorgeous old woman, who was always pleased to see her, gave Mum a purpose for her day so she felt better and the depression and loneliness lifted a lot. Within roughly eight weeks, the old lady had died and Mum drifted back into her sadness again and her depression and loneliness came back and she’s not ventured into reaching out to others in that way again.