Old age is the most complicated and sensitive phase of a human life. Elderly people have to face certain social, psychological and physical barriers that make their life more complicated. It is a harsh fact that as people grow older; society tends to diminish them from their social circles.
According to a study conducted by University of California, 43% of the people tend to feel lonely on the regular bases. How a person feels when he is lonely at a growing age? I guess the answer lies in a simple question. Just consider and ask yourself that you are now young, enjoying your life, cheering up with your social circles, not feeling bad for the elderly people who have been cut off from their families and living in old age homes. Now just think, this time is going to come on you also. Day by day, you are aging, growing old. You can’t handle the loneliness in young age so how you would tackle it when you are old. The answer of this question will create a self realization of the fact that how tough it is to be lonely at an older age.
Loneliness is contagious. It can spread from one to another. Hard to believe but study conducted in University of Chicago observed that the people living alone at old age push others to go away from them and isolate themselves in a more desolated environment. They don’t even make efforts to connect with other people and make new social circle.
Tina Tessina, Ph.D., psychotherapist is of the view that one of the major causes of loneliness is that older people are not encouraged to express themselves. It is a general fact that we don’t listen to the people we love. She is of the view that “Tell me more” is a perfect gift that you can give to the elderly patients. Try to listen to them, what they want to say. Let them express their beliefs and emotions. If you discourage them by not listening, they would make themselves pushed towards loneliness.
The generation gap could also be another potential reason for loneliness in elderly people. Youngest relative of the elder people found them as boring or crazy. They don’t spend time with them. This attitude gives elder people a notion that they are not of any use now. Actually elderly people are a gem of experience for us. We should listen to them and let them teach us.
Lack of social circle also causes depression and loneliness among elderly patients. I think instead of pushing our grand elder to old age homes, we should spend time with them, share our daily routines, give gifts and make them feel that they are still an important part of the family. Not of all of these reasons may be true but some are harsh facts that have been observed in day to day life and surely leads to loneliness among elderly.