Living Alone and Loneliness — Not the Same Thing!

12 May

Last week the local newspaper had a front page story about how living alone leads to shorter life spans. The article led with the story of two individuals, both in their 80s. One walked his dog several times a day and lived alone in a small apartment. His daughter visited almost every day. But his wife had died the year before and he was obviously still grieving. Of course, he felt lonely.

The other example was a woman in declining health who had outlived most of her friends and family. She had become immobile after an active life. She said she was ready to join her friends who had gone on.

You see the problem here, of course. The reporter had confused living alone with loneliness. Though the studies on which the article was based made it clear that loneliness led to a shorter life, too many people like this reporter jumped to the conclusion that living alone equaled loneliness.

Feeling lonely is as common as breathing among the human race. The problem leading to a shorter life span comes with unrelenting loneliness. Living alone can be freedom at its best if its a choice. If it’s forced upon an individual, however, it makes loneliness worse.

In the next few days, I’d like to explore how to solve the problem of loneliness — until it happens again, of course.  Topics include:

  • Taking control by making choices
  • You got to go to where everyone knows your name
  • Making a real connection

And finally, if you’re feeling lonely, check the calendar. If you’re still feeling lonely in a couple of weeks, you’re probably depressed and need the help of a mental health professional. Get help!

But if you experience occasional bouts of loneliness like most of the human race, check back here. We will find some answers.

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