Most of us are too busy to help old people we may not know. But a few minutes each week can open the door to a lifetime of experience.
Jane's Team has a lot of experience in dealing with lonely people in their work with Victims but over the years they began to recognise that there are many older people who are lonely also. Realising that in talking to or helping older people Victims gain strength it was decided to make loneliness part of our 21st Century Family Survival Guide. This untapped resource has, over their lifetime, learned so much. They have been involved with a family, may have been married with children and sorted out all of the day to day dramas that families face so often.
We are never too old to learn something – why not learn from old people?
Mark Twain said “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
For the older person all of these memories and so much experience has been often used but eventually, one by one their family and friends moves away and become fond memories; others die and leave a gaping hole that's hard to fill. Those members of their family that marry and set up their own house find work and family matters take up so much of their time that it is difficult to see their parent or parents.
Not meeting people and living alone creates anxiety and stress
Social Services in many countries interview old people when admitted to hospital to ascertain how they're coping at home. Loneliness is easily recognised by them and home-based nursing services and other matters are introduced. Doctors also reported to us that many patients make regular visit to them with no recognisable illnesses but are suffering from loneliness. The symptoms are real to them and include lack of sleep, sore muscles, tiredness, headaches etc and say they feel worried about something unusual in their physical activity. Doctors understand this and examine them carefully than usually subscribe a harmless medication. They have found that such patients are very pleased when the Doctor talks about diet and suggests that might try cooking a dinner party menu for one as a treat. Or recommend a home remedy like walking more often and set a target for the number of steps (anything that seems useful anyway) and to come back in a month's time for a check-up. Doctors then noted that these patients improved dramatically.
Why do we need other humans?
Although some people enjoy being on their own, the whole world evolves collectively and we need to interact with other humans for so many reasons.
In this 21st Century things are different, and that means you need to take control
Here are a few ideas on what most people need and how to do that. The most important thing is to meet people and enjoy life. We do take care of our body but most people seems to think that looking after our mind is not necessary because we are not insane. Our brain is the most important part of our body and it has so much space left that it is never too old to learn something new
- The most wanted need is to have a chat with another person
- Meeting people
- Join a group
- There are many different groups that meet regularly such as religious, political, social, (so many to choose from). Most do not require membership and you can leave anytime
- Some local areas of government provide regular bus trips. Old people are collected from their home and for a small fee, of about $10, are taken on a sightseeing trip including lunch and refreshments before returning them home.
- Call on an old neighbor, or contact an aged care facility and offer to come in and have a chat with people who might feel lonely.
- Enrol in a course in something you have always liked
- Flower arrangement
- Gardening techniques
- Making furnitaure
- Join a group
- The second most important need is to be asked to help with anything using your knowledge and experience
- This invigorates and stimulates but if no one knows what you know you have to tell them with active participation. "Can I help you with that?", or "Anytime you need help with whatever, please contact me" etc.
- Carry out random acts of kindness with total strangers
- Open the door for anyone carrying a heavy load
- Bundle up some old clothes, or other things you never use cluttering up the cupboard and drop them off to a charity organisation
- Having a pet is of enormous benefit