Tips For Overcoming Loneliness After 50
Updated: Aug 27
Sitting in a cafe a few weeks ago (socially distancing of course) I struck up chat (as I do!) with a lovely lady called Mary who was sitting at the next table to me. She was telling me (amongst other things) how lonely she feels. #Loneliness is quite a common thing in the second stages of life, and left unchecked can lead to some pretty profound low moments having a huge effect on mental health and wellbeing, leading to #depression, #anxiety and #stress. Imagine that, what a horrible way to feel.
As I listened to Mary she went on to explain that some times things can get a little on top of her when everyone around seems to be busy in their own world, and she feels they are passing her by, she says she is beginning to feel invisible. I suspect this partly has something to do with her being poorly over the last few months and not being able to be in contact with her usual circle of acquaintances, and they have stopped asking after her, which happens to the best of us – out of sight out of mind.
I asked if she had children nearby, to which she said she has but when they come by to see me they don't want to stop long as they have things to be doing and it's almost as if (well probably the case) that they popped by because they think they ought to - doing their duty! It makes me feel a burden and wonder if they are planning my future (as youngster do with their parents) for me and if I am going to get stuck in an old peoples home when I get older.
They think I am already old and don't seem to understand that I still have 20 - 30 years of life in me yet and I am not going to hang up my stockings anytime soon! I had to chuckle as under that #loneliness I suspect she is quite a feisty lady who had clearly just let a bit of emptiness creep into her life.
By this time I had just about finished my coffee but I wanted to try to help Mary before I left and asked her if she would like a couple of tips to which she readily accepted. She quickly extracted a note pad and pen from her handbag and starting scribbling away as I gave her the following tips.
1. Make an effort to re contact with your circle of acquaintances, give them a ring and don’t expect them to call you – make the effort. It’s really important that we have something or someone whom we can talk to and share companionship with, it’s true what they say – a problem shared is a problem halved. Having people to share experiences and life’s challenges with can really help relieve anxiety and stress for you.
2. Think about your interests and explore some other local groups and societies to join. Have you thought about joining the University of the third age ? This is open to anyone – you don’t, despite the name have to have been to University. They have lots of sub sections and lots of groups to join in with from walking, painting, history, Science to just meeting up for lunch once a month.
3. Don’t always be readily available when your children want to drop in – tell them you are going out and make another time. This will let them realise that yes you still have a life of your own and are in charge! My Aunty used to put her coat on if someone knocked on her door so that she could say she was just on her way out if she didn’t want visitors!
4. Be courageous, shake yourself up and ask yourself – what can I do about the situation? No good feeling sorry for yourself - start taking control of your life and put yourself back in the driving seat. Remember that feisty lady you really are inside and let her out again. Stand tall and walk forward to meet your future fun and happiness. Find fulfilment in things you do and do them to the absolute fullness.
As I left the café I asked Mary to let me know how she gets on and left her my number to contact me . I am delighted that she phoned me to update me last week to tell me how she had taken my advice and joined the local gardening group, wine tasting group, the U3A and do you believe a clay pigeon shooting club!! Ha good for Mary! She seems to have regained her dignity and self respect having taken charge of her life again. Her children are already beginning to treat and look at Mary differently now it’s clear they don’t have to be concerned about her. They are far more respectful towards her and really do have to arrange meeting up at convenient times as she is out and about enjoying herself and feeling fulfilled and happy. Great outcome Mary – I am so thrilled for her.
I would love to keep in touch with you and if you feel the same way please join in for more tips and the occasional newsletter and sign up here - I will NEVER share your details.
Until the next time. Much love