As The Wesley Communities celebrate 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!
Tip #20 of 50 – A problem no one wants to talk about: Loneliness can be an enormous problem for seniors still living in their homes
In the hierarchy of human needs, food, shelter, and safety are at the top of the list. And oftentimes, seniors living alone can meet these basic needs fairly well, especially with services provided in the home, and necessities more readily available through things like Uber and personal shoppers. But once you step beyond these basic human requirements to sustain life, social interaction and connection are of the utmost importance, and oftentimes, can be missing elements for seniors living alone.
Sometimes, there is an adult child or a saintly neighbor (or even a beloved pet) who is able to meet this human need for contentedness, but when the adult children live out of town, or the saintly neighbor moves away, or the beloved pet dies, there is a very real void that directly, and negatively, impacts the quality of life for the senior living on their own.
If you are an adult child (with the very best of intentions!) and you visit or call and find yourself listening to an almost non-stop barrage of words, believe me, you are not alone. In this situation, patience is a must, especially when often, this is a time when that might be in short supply in your life. I invite you to carefully consider a suggestion (often rejected as out of hand, but persevere) to your aging parent that they begin to consider a move to a retirement community.
And if you are a senior living at home alone, and you find yourself truly missing social connectedness, I also invite you to consider either on your own, or perhaps upon the gentle suggestion of someone else, a close look at retirement community living.
Aging is not just about staying alive. Aging at its finest is about finding meaning and making connections that make life worth living. Not everyone is comfortable in a crowd, and leaving the familiarity of a long-time residence can be overwhelming. But remember: you are never too old to make lifelong friends.
At The Wesley Communities, we know that transitions can be difficult. We also know that quality of life is vastly improved for those folks who make the move. Our communities are filled with people who wondered what this next stage of life might be like, and are absolutely delighted they made the decision to move.