Monday, December 07, 2015
How to Help Stop Seniors From Dying of Loneliness
When I was a boy my grandmother read me a story about an old woman whose body was discovered in a rooming house, days or weeks after she died.
And when they went through her possessions they found a diary, with only these same words written on every page:
"Nobody came today."
And although my canny granny was probably just trying to guilt me out for not visiting HER enough i.e. more than four or five times a week.
That story changed forever how I viewed seniors and loneliness.
And I'm reminded of it every holiday season, especially now that I know that loneliness and social isolation can kill.
And are right up there with obesity and a 15 cigarette a day habit on the list of risk factors that can cause premature death.
Which is why I like this Christmas ad from a German supermarket chain...
Of course it isn't really true to life. Many seniors don't have a family to visit them, and have outlived or lost contact with their friends.
So they can end up crushed by loneliness, like the woman whose body was discovered six months after she died, and had written this in her diary:
"Old age is a curse. I feel like a half dried rug - with all its purpose rung out."
Which is why I believe that we should all do more to brighten up the lives of isolated seniors in our midst, as my buddy and I try to do every year.
It doesn't take much. Just a visit, or an invitation to come over, or a card, or a small present, or in my case a slice of the enormous Christmas pudding my Mum mails me from Scotland every year.
Which has enough booze in it to make even the grumpiest senior cheer up.
And you don't need a telescope to spot the lonely, as a young girl does in this other Christmas ad...
Oh sure I know that's not realistic either. But it's amazing how much good a small act of kindness can do. It can even save a life.
It's bad enough that in a country as rich as this one, many seniors are being forced to choose between their food or their medication.
But please do what you can to help stop them from dying of loneliness...
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