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Friendship With Seniors


Most Senior friendships fall into two categories. These are friendships with other elderly persons, and friendships with younger people.


Older people often seek their own kind where their problems, achievements, and illnesses are understood. Seniors migrate to "retirement communities" and enjoy activities in Senior Centers and with groups organized just for them. Close ties can develop and last for many years. These friendships can end sadly when one member becomes too ill to be a friend.


Healthy Seniors can also build strong bonds with younger people. Anyone can be a friend.

Loneliness Among Older People


In 1987 in the US, 8.5 million elderly lived alone; by 2020, 13.3 million elderly will live alone. Most of these are widows.


Loneliness breeds isolation. Each day, it gets harder to go out and visit new places and try new things which could lead to meeting new people. Loneliness and isolation together can feed depression and chronic illness.


Wm. J. Diehm has written a thought-provoking article on how to overcome loneliness. >>More



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My Mom Is Lonesome

ElderThinker | 10.01.10


I was visiting with a friend who is worried about his 74 year old mom. "She won't go anywhere." He said. "I found a line dancing event for her at the Senior Center but she wouldn't go and she loves line dancing." He went on. "She told me that she didn't want to be with all those old people!"


Now this might seem like a strange case but it's fairly common. There are probably a couple of things going one here.


The first one is easy. His mom is "in denial" about her own "oldness." She doesn't feel old and imagines that other elders are not like her. Of course the best thing for her is to go ahead and go to the line dancing program and see how it feels. So why doesn't she go?


This is the hard part. Staying home alone is addictive. We get to do what we want when we want. There's no one to care what we look like so we don't exercise, eat proplerly, or dress fashionably. Pretty soon, it's embarrassing to go out and easier to stay in.


The best thing my friend can do for his mom is to be sure she gets to her hairdresser, has a manicure, and a new pretty outfit so she will want to go out and show off a little.


And let's not forget the possibilty that line dancing isn't the best as a first step. She might be a bit out of shape or maybe her feet hurt. There are all kinds of other community events where she can meet people.


Making Friends



People Forget How To Make Friends

Gretchen Heuring | ElderThink | 10.01.10


Loss is part of growing older. We lose the youthful appearance that is so highly prized by our culture, we lose some of the experiences we have enjoyed such as athletics or driving a car,friends playing cards and we lose eyesight, hearing, and feeling well.


The greatest losses involve our friends. They may move away to be closer to loved ones or into an assisted living situation. They die.


Gradually, older people find themselves lonely and isolated without so much that has enriched their lives. They often have forgotten how to make friends.


Actually, it's possible to make a new friend anywhere. Even in front of the lettuce in the grocery store. It all begins with a smile and a question. So here are the steps:


1. Actually look at the person and smile. Then ask a question such as "What is your favorite salad?"


2. Then listen with interest because, of course, now you will want to know what this new person likes about salad.


3. While you are listening, allow another question to pop into your mind. Don't worry about what YOU will say, worry about what the new person is telling you. Allow your natural curiosity to kick in.


4. Soon, unless the person is in an enormous hurry, you will have a conversation.


Next time you see this person in the grocery store, you can smile and you will have something from that first conversation to ask about.


Try it. It will make you feel wonderful. You might not meet this new person in a grocery store. It might be in the doctor's waiting room or at your pet groomer's or at church. The steps are the same. Smile, be curious, be interested, listen.