Lonely? You're not alone. And we can help.
Earlier this week, a member asked me, “Do you think others are as lonely as I am?” It was an honest question from someone for whom the pandemic has led to a greater sense of isolation. Other members have expressed that health changes (especially hearing loss), deaths of family and friends, or the decision to not drive any longer have also led to a greater sense of being alone. According to a report by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) “nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated.”
So, that one member with whom I spoke this week, is surely not alone in her loneliness. If you’re wondering about your own sense of loneliness, you might take AARP’s online quiz. It’s just 10 questions and can help you gauge where you are on the spectrum. Developing a solution to loneliness is somewhat more challenging in that it must fit the individual. As an article from Kaiser Health News points out, because people are lonely for different reasons, there isn’t a “one-size fits all solution” that will work.
Sometimes a listening ear can be just what we need.
As for the Village, we want to offer a variety of programs and services that we hope will be helpful and enjoyable for as many as possible. A few examples may be helpful to better illustrate our point. If a medical issue is at play, the Village can help you get to and from your medical appointment by providing a friendly neighbor as a driver. We also offer a variety of programs, both in-person and online, for those wishing greater interaction with others in their community. Volunteers also make phone calls and visits for those that desire a periodic check in and our social worker is available for short-term needs. Sometimes a listening ear can be just what we need.
As I said to another member this week who is experiencing some new health issues and is also feeling a bit glum, “I know your family is far away, but please know that your Village is here for you.” I meant that sincerely. As much as I’d like to be able to take everyone’s pain or troubles away, I know that I can’t, but also believe that the Village can (and is) part of the solution.
So, if you’re feeling alone, as the member told me she was early this week, just know that others periodically feel the same way. The pandemic is hard. Changes in our lives can be hard. Losing people is hard. The Village is here for you and I am always open to your ideas about other things that we can do and offer that might be helpful to you. If you are seeking something different than what we currently offer, perhaps others are too. You can always send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Frank Finamore is the Executive Director of the Village