Whilst we talk about a future for all ages, and by that we mean a good, healthy and meaningful future, there is an extreme sadness for some people who can’t obtain this. They are experiencing the ageless scourge of our society, loneliness. The recent BBC documentary ‘The Age of Loneliness’ demonstrated that there is no age limit to feeling this way and there are many, many reasons why people feel the way they do. Of course we are all aware we are living longer which in turn can result in more people living alone when partners, children and friends have died before them.
I was also concerned about the younger contributors to the film, one of those being a young lady who had come over to London from New Zealand, got married and has now split with her partner. She has a good job and wants to stay in London, yet she feels lonely as her family are in New Zealand. A change for the better came about when she volunteered for a local group where older people meet for tea and a chat, she has taken from that the warmth and company, reminding her of her grandparents and making her feel included. Of course the older people win too as they are taken care of, they have company, her smiling face and somewhere to go.
Many people fill their time by taking part in group activities and it really does enrich their lives, yet what they will say is when they go home they still feel lonely. As one gentleman said, "I don’t have anyone to do nothing with".
We can all help to change this, if you are a family take the time to visit your relatives, if you know someone in your neighbourhood is living alone or, if you have the time, volunteer to a group where you can make a difference.