Senior Citizen Advice: Tips for Letting Loneliness Go

NEWS RELEASE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI EXTENSION OFFICE

FORSYTH, Mo. — Loneliness is a painful and frightening life experience for senior citizens, especially when it is tied to a death, moving away or divorce.

“Growing old can bring people into the situations that make them feel and live in emotional and social isolation,” said Dr. Jim Wirth, a human development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

According to Wirth, loneliness is different from solitude or depression.

“Some people think social activities can relieve loneliness. Social activities can reduce the sense of loneliness temporarily, but a lonely person needs to have meaningful activities and true friends to care, share and support,” said Wirth.

Wirth offers these suggestions for handling loneliness:

· Form new relationships to repair a sense of emptiness and loneliness.

· Be confident about your ability to deal with loneliness. Remember, if you make some effort, things can become better.

· Spend your energy on friendships, groups and activities you like.

· Build and maintain your social network. Maintain personal contact with people to help you find acceptance and belonging.

· Do things for others. Volunteering to help people or the community will let you feel good about yourself. If there is no volunteer work in your community, get some projects going.

· Work. Do some work every day. Work is a natural antidote to reduce loneliness. Work at home can be joyful, however, work at the workplace can expand opportunities to interact.

· Believe in yourself. Believing in yourself builds your confidence and competency to control your lifestyle.

For more information, contact any of MU Extension’s human development specialists in southwest Missouri: Renette Wardlow in Christian County at (417) 581-3558, Dr. Jim Wirth in Taney County at (417) 546-4431, or Angie Fletcher in Douglas County at (417) 683-4409

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