At SouthWest Counselling Centre we are meeting more and more elderly people who are feeling isolated and alone. What strikes me is that whilst there is a lot of emphasis on help and support for younger people there is less awareness of the availability of supports for older people. As we all know, life is an on-going journey that can present challenges at any stage along the way. Bereavement, loneliness, declining health, fear of crime and loss of loved ones through emigration are issues that many older people are dealing with. Counselling can provide a clear space to do this and offers support and gives us a fresh perspective on things.
Many older people are feeling lonely and isolated due to a lack of social contact and connection. Social isolation has been shown to have a detrimental effect on health and well-being. It is vital therefore that we stay connected, and whenever possible reach out to others and remain actively involved in life. As social beings, most of us feel the need for social contact and relationships. Therefore I would encourage someone who is feeing lonely to establish what opportunities for social connection already exist in their community. It doesn’t matter initially whether they get anything out of the actual activity, as they may meet someone of like mind and it is a great opportunity for social connection.
There are many activities in which they can join. Adult education classes can be a great way to meet like-minded people whilst also acquiring new skills. They can also help to boost our confidence and make social interaction more pleasurable. Getting involved in Community Action Groups, Local History Groups or Sporting Activities can all be very enjoyable. Participating in local church activities, organised outings or book clubs can also help to feel more connected to others. Treating ourselves to massage or reflexology can also help to relieve loneliness. Another useful activity is letter writing, perhaps for a worthy cause – such as Amnesty International. Technology forums such as the internet may provide relief from boredom and loneliness. Perhaps you could enlist the help of a young person to learn these skills. If you are feeling lonely, reach out and talk to someone today.
Senior Help Line can be contacted on (1850 440444) from 10am to 10pm for the price of a local call from anywhere in Ireland.
If you would like to speak to a counsellor, SouthWest Counselling Centre provides affordable professional counselling to children, adolescents adults and couples – both at its Killarney Centre (Lewis Road) and at Kenmare Family Centre. To make an appointment call 064 6636416, email@example.com.
SouthWest Counselling Centre is a not-for-profit organization. All funds raised through fundraising go directly to service provision.