Loneliness in America is a very pressing issue, especially in people 75 or older. This group of people paved the way for the things we have now. Loneliness is slowly taking over our loved ones, and it needs to be put to an end. For many people loneliness can feel like pain in the body and can lead to things like drug use or self-harm. The average person will agree to feeling lonely at some point in their lives. Loneliness is curable, and in many ways that you would never think of. Elderly people should not be going through these circumstances if they can be stopped.
Loneliness is defined as “being without company.” (Webster) People become lonely when they feel that they have no one to talk to, visit, or confide in. Family members and close friends may not notice the loss of connection but the person experiencing it does. It can be harmful to us in many ways such as alcoholism, suicide, drug use, and depression. Loneliness affects everyone in every age group but is more worrisome in our elders. They are feeling abandoned and disappointed in their children and grandchildren. Elders take lack of communication in a more personal way than we do.
The word loneliness first came into the world in the late 16th century. People then thought of loneliness as being too far away from other people. Being away and in the woods would trigger a fear that they would be harmed. Being away from people then meant that there was no protection against other humans or even wildlife. Preachers even used the term loneliness as a way to scare church goers away from sin. It was used in the same way hell, the desert, and their grave. (Worsley)
Though the word lonely has gotten away from the meaning “too far away” it is still a powerful word to this day. Loneliness is no longer compared to being in hell or being dead, it is being used in the same way as sorrow, or abandonment. It is not just staying away from other people or staying in the dangerous woods. It is a feeling of being away from other people even though you might be surrounded by them.
There are many ways to help our elders get out of this state of loneliness. One is as simple as taking time out of your day to talk to them. Research shows that the simplest smile and wave at someone can brighten their day tremendously. Going to see your loved ones more often could actually save their lives. They feel as though their children have abandoned them when they move away, or don’t call. When you show them attention or even let them teach you something. It works as a feeling of helpfulness, it makes them feel as though you still need them.
Another way we can help support our elders during this time of depression, is to introduce them to social media. Today social media is used as a source of communication in many families. Facebook is a platform where you can chat, upload pictures, and even call your loved ones. It may be harder to teach older people how to use all the features on the site but pays off in the end. It gives them a whole new way of communication they have never experienced.
Loneliness is nothing a little encouragement couldn’t help. Encouraging your elders to get out of the house more, or to join a new club could really help them. Sometimes all people need is that little push for things to change. There are still many ways to get them out of the house, such as a swimming classes or a book club.
Some people may say that our elders aren’t what we should be focusing on. But I completely disagree with that statement. Our elders are who have paved the way for what we have now. They fought hard for all of the privileges we have. They need to be protected for what little time they have left with us.
In conclusion our elders need help with the terrible feelings they are experiencing. There are many ways to stop this problem. Some are as simple as a talk and a hug. Others are as complex as teaching them how to use a new app. No matter what, they are falling deeper and deeper into this hole called loneliness. They need our help.