As the old idiom goes “a problem shared is a problem halved” – however sharing your feelings can be feel like a problem in itself.
Loneliness is something that many of us experience in our lifetime and it is an unfortunate truth that loneliness can affect us more the older that we get. A study conducted by Churchill Retirement Living ambassador Esther Rantzen’s charity organisation, The Silver Line, discovered that 2.5 million older people often feel lonely and one in four older people say they seldom or never chat on the phone.
There is never a positive outcome from bottling up how we feel. Over 20% of over 60’s surveyed admitted that feeling lonely has even affected their health in some way. Asking for help is the key to realigning your life away from loneliness and away from a path that often leads to increased vulnerability and mental health issues. So who can you turn to for help?
Family members, your children or close friends
Sincerely consider who would be the best people you know to talk to. When you talk to the people who know you best it’s easier to be honest about how you are feeling. Many amongst us have lost count of the number of times friends and family will have said “let me know if there’s anything I can do to help” only to be met with “oh no, don’t worry about me”.
Those who care about you will be sincere in their offer; it’s about plucking up the courage to take them up on it. Choose a place and a time where you feel comfortable and you won’t be interrupted to talk through your feelings with them.
Don’t be afraid to speak your mind either. If you feel that your family or friends could do more for you, tell the truth. It’s likely that they’ll be happy to get more involved but they may not know if you don’t tell them.
It’s also often beneficial to make a list (either mentally or you can write it down) of the things you want to discuss to ensure that you’ve shared all of your feelings. You’re less likely to forget or be distracted, so you can talk about everything you want to and refer to your list if needed.
If you don’t feel comfortable turning to your family and friends, why not talk to a charity organisation like The Silver Line who provide a free and confidential service? Nine out of 10* older people told researchers that “a chat on the phone” is the most helpful solution when they feel lonely. Sometimes chatting to a stranger on the phone about our problems can be far easier than talking to someone close to you, and often the act of talking itself can put problems into perspective – you definitely won’t be the only person who feels with this way and they will be able to help towards a solution.
You could also attend one of Churchill Retirement Living’s Mornings of Indulgence, which have been taking place throughout February and during March 2016. These mornings are a great way to meet new people and support The Silver Line as we will be donating £5 for every visitor that attends. You’ll be able to talk to like-minded people, raise awareness of loneliness and indulge in a selection of luxury hot chocolates, cakes and coffees.
There is no shame in loneliness and at Churchill Retirement we’re aiming to raise awareness and support a happy and enjoyable retirement.
Join us in supporting our Leave Loneliness Behind campaign online – follow us on Twitter @ChurchillRL and join the conversation using #combatloneliness or head to the Churchill Retirement Living Facebook page and talk to us there.