How to Help Combat Loneliness
The last two years have thrown a lot of issues into the spotlight—including a number of things that people are often reluctant to talk about, and loneliness is one of the most important ones.
We know that many of our customers are older, and more at risk, and for these people, the last two years have often been difficult when it comes to isolation and being separated from friends and family. What’s more, as we get older, and mobility and independence become greater concerns, it can be hard to see people as often as we’d like, contributing to a feeling of loneliness.
Not only does loneliness greatly affect our mental health and well-being, but these effects can also take a toll on our physical health. Luckily there are a number of steps you can take to help counteract this problem, some of which we’re going to explore in this post.
Keep In Touch
We’ll start with one of the more obvious—but difficult to be proactive about, which is why it’s important to make a note of it. When you’re dealing with loneliness, it can become a self perpetuating cycle where you find it difficult to reach out. Especially if you’re worried about imposing yourself, or find it difficult to make time around the schedules of friends and family.
However, it’s not something that needs to be overcomplicated. Yes, there is no substitute for face to face conversations and spending time with friends and family, but thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with people. Reach out to those you can, you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.
Find A New Hobby
One of the best things about retirement is the time and freedom you find yourself having—but this can also come with potential drawbacks, especially if you find yourself more isolated. That’s why picking up a new hobby, or even rediscovering a lapsed one, can be one of the best things you can do for yourself.
A hobby isn’t just a great way of keeping your mind occupied and giving you something to focus your time, it can also be a wonderful avenue towards socializing and meeting new people. There are a wide range of hobbies that you can try out, whether it’s board games, gardening, even starting or joining a book club. But what they all have in common is that there are going to be other people out there who will share your passion or interest, and this shared community can be a wonderful place to find company and joy.
Sign Up For Volunteering
Volunteering may not be something that immediately springs to mind when it comes to helping to deal with loneliness, but it’s a great way of doing something that will help you, and allow you to help connect with others.
Volunteering, whether it’s for an organization, or simply through being an active member of your local community, is a wonderful way to get yourself out of the house, keep active, and make new and lasting friendships and connections. We know our older customers have lived long and varied lives, and volunteering helps them to pass that knowledge on, and use their experience and skills to help others.
Adopt A Dog Or A Cat
Of course, it’s not only human company that can help to alleviate loneliness, but the company of animals too! Getting a dog or a cat may seem like a big step, but they can actually be tremendous long term companions. Especially dogs, who can also help you make connections with fellow dog walkers, as well as getting some much needed regular fresh air and exercise. Here are some things to consider before getting a pet.
Of course not everyone has the space, time, or capacity to take on a pet, but you can still be able to enjoy the company of one. If you have any family, friends, or neighbours who need someone to spend time with their pets, petsitting can be a great way of assisting them, and giving you something to occupy your mind and provide you with company.
In this modern age, many people find themselves with friends and family scattered across not only Canada, but the world—especially as they get older. And this can exacerbate feelings of loneliness, which is why embracing technology is something everyone should consider as a way of keeping in touch with the people they care about.
We understand that, especially for older generations who didn’t grow accustomed to technology until their later years, this can all seem a little bit daunting. But there are plenty of guides out there, and we’re sure your friends and family would be happy to guide you. With the popularity of video chats, as well as Facebook and other messaging services, distance should no longer be a factor when it comes to feeling apart from your family and friends.
Something that can often be a problem with isolation and loneliness is the lack of things to look forward to—which is why it’s important to plan as many things as you can, and keep track of them so that you always have something to look forward to.
Whether it’s a full excursion such as heading to a museum or a shopping trip, or something simple like spending some time in your favourite local library or coffee shop, breaking up your routine like this will help you avoid boredom and isolation.
Additionally, if it’s possible, going to see your friends and family, rather than waiting for them to come to you, can definitely help. You can even combine the two ideas and make a day of it with them!
Loneliness can affect anyone, and it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. This is why it’s also a good idea not only for us to reach out to others when we’re feeling down, but also for us to reach out to other people, because you never know what someone else is going through. That’s the spirit of compassion and community that we strive for with everything we do at Island Mediquip, and it’s something we hope our customers feel from us.