by Bob Branco
There are many elders out there who feel lonely. There could be several reasons for this. Perhaps they have no family living in the area, or that family members may be too busy and are not as available to their loved ones as they’d like. For seniors in my city who are lonely, our local Council on Aging opened up a day program to keep them occupied. They are involved in a number of activities, such as games, knitting and trivia. I run the trivia for them, so I know just how happy they are to get involved in something productive.
I recently read an article about a woman named Roxanne Cornell of Minnesota who decided to open up a community home for seniors who are lonely. Cornell, who acts as the coordinator of this home, used a theme similar to Golden Girls in order to provide living quarters for four elderly women. I commend her for her actions. She makes sure that these women are happy and productive, and that they get to share their lives with one another.
Aside from the obvious drawbacks to seniors who are lonely, I can’t help but wonder if there is an indirect connection between loneliness and Alzheimer’s disease. I am not a medical expert, but I know an elderly woman who used to be extremely active on a national level. After she lost her husband and her guide dog, she found herself confined to the home until she began to experience memory loss and frequent unawareness. She was eventually placed in a nursing home where she got progressively worse.
How do we prevent seniors from being lonely? I believe the answer lies with each individual situation. Some seniors have loved ones who are willing to provide care, while others need to hire outside assistance. In recent years, there has been a trend toward assisted living facilities for the elderly population. These facilities offer help only if the elder needs it, and they also serve as a viable alternative to a nursing home. Let’s face it. Who really wants to go into a nursing home?
As long as we have good doctors, day programs, assisted living facilities, professional care givers and loving families, our elders will have less problems and will continue to live a quality life for as long as they can.
About the Author
Bob Branco resides in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and is a self-published author of four books. He is a community organizer, tutors persons with visual impairments, and has written columns for local and international organizations. Bob’s web site is www.dvorkin.com/robertbranco/.