Why staying socially engaged is so important
Participant: “It changed my life in every way …. was something to look forward to every week which I hadn’t had before. Another day, I’d be sitting in my own looking at the four walls. When the volunteer came, I’d be busy, I’d have to get ready for her.”
Volunteer: “At first, she wouldn’t say much but then she’d start to tell you little things, only between herself and myself. It was lovely.”
This study shows how being socially engaged with others can decrease loneliness, and can have benefits for both the volunteer and the participant.Volunteer: “They have a huge big flat screen television and their radio but they are lonely. They don’t have people coming to visit them. It’s not that they don’t want visitors but they live in a rural area, and you know the way society has gotten now, people don’t call in for visits anymore. They looked forward to my visits though.”
- What do you believe to be the biggest danger related to loneliness and isolation? Post your thoughts in the Comments section below.
Brian Lawlor is Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin.
Strategies for Successful Ageing
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