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Lonliness and Isolation

(40 Posts)
cathyeva Thu 19-Apr-12 09:14:06


From experience with my own grandparents, I have found that there is an increase in the way that they feel lonely and isolated. I think that this is an important issue as many more people are living a much longer time and I think systems or products need to be created and put in place to reduce this. I would love an open discussion about why you think that this is the case as you get older and also are there things that can solve this problem that isn't available at the moment, any feedback wold be appreciated.

Thank you,


Tegan Wed 01-Apr-15 17:41:42

You sound like someone who is really fun to know and I wonder if threin lies the rub. Meet people socially and are easy to chat with and leave them with a smile on your face [just the sort of person we all like to meet when we're socialising]. So perhaps people assume that, when you leave them, your calendar is full of exciting things?

annodomini Wed 01-Apr-15 18:39:29

celialillian, your post could be me talking about myself. I have always been a bit shy though my outward persona doesn't show this. I get on very well with people both individually and in groups, but the problem is that we had moved only five months before my ex told me he was leaving. I had a new job in a city - lived in a nice suburb. Rarely saw my neighbours. Made a few friends through joining things, though gradually several of them moved away. The boys grew up and also moved away, though I do go by train to see them and their families as often as possible. It seems that once I get home and close the door, it's as if I've pulled up a drawbridge. When I downsized to this small town, I joined NWR and I see the members as friends, but they have known each other since their days at the school gates. I still feel like an outsider. U3A has brought me friendship as well, through a common interest.

FlicketyB Wed 01-Apr-15 19:04:33

I recognise the last two posts. I think part of it is who we are and part, at least in my case, is childhood experience.

I recently read an article by someone, who like me, had a peripatetic childhood, because her father was in the forces. She had only been to 4 schools, I went to 9, but she commented that you become very good at socialising with anyone and everybody but do not build close relationships because you know your time there is limited and that you will then move elsewhere in the country or overseas.

In my case this was exacerbated by having, until I was 13, a medical problem that left me vulnerable to bullying. I can talk to anyone, anywhere but find it difficult to step over the threshold from acquaintance to friendship. I do have friends but they are all 'love at first sight' friendships, we met and bonded, and as they are all very outgoing I was stepped over to, rather than making the move myself.

Having said that, even with people with large social circles, the number of close friends they have is probably fewer than they would admit. I have a long standing hobby and I have belonged to the local group associated with it for over 30 years. I am very friendly with a good 10 or more members, we meet regularly, have a regular café where we have lunch before meetings and email each other regularly about group activities, but I do not socialise with any of them on a one-to-one basis - and I do not think other members do either, but if someone went missing or we didn't hear from them for a while, we would all soon be emailing or phoning to find out what had happened to them.

Parcs Thu 02-Apr-15 18:15:38

I think its all about your friends and family around you, some people are fortunate and have caring friends and family, they have good people around them, but others do not. If you do not its about going out to places and clubs that have people of your own age and making good friends that will be there for you and you be there for them if you do become less active.

celialillian Sat 25-Apr-15 17:42:10

My casual friends all seem to have husbands or family living when it comes to holidays they can easily arrange this for themselves...but despite the fact I belong to many things, including the U3A I find there is nobody to go on holiday with...I know there are holiday companies that do singles holidays for the older people...but the thought of this scares me so much...what if I get stuck with someone unpleasant or no one at all. I am not looking for a partner , so would hate any male to think that. Has anyone had a holiday for the elderly singles and if so how do you handle it.....

janeainsworth Sat 25-Apr-15 18:04:59

celialillian One of my single friends just takes herself off - last year she walked and camped in Southern France with her dog Snd the year before than she travelled round China by herself.
Another one joins tours to places like Vietnam, or a flotilla holiday.
Neither of them has been 'stuck' with anyone unpleasant, and neither, as far as I know, had to fend off any unwanted amorous advances.
My very adventurous friend used to lead garden holidays and city mini-breaks for HF Holidays - the choice is endless. Just do some searching on the Internet smile

Tresco Sat 25-Apr-15 18:44:22

I had a holiday with a company called Traveleyes, which specialises in holidays for the visually impaired. Sighted people go as guides, at a much reduced price, and get paired with a different person every day, with at least one day "off duty". One bonus of travelling with visually impaired people is that they don't judge you on appearance or age, so you can have fun spending time with younger or older people.

FlicketyB Sun 26-Apr-15 19:35:53

Am I the only Gransnetter who on occasion goes on holidays with someone other than their DH? I have several times gone off for a few days or a week with friends or relations or done residential courses because we/I want to do something that DH is not remotely interested in. DD and I are planning such a break at the moment. DH in his turn goes off to do courses or follow interests he has. I have several times been away with single friends. Most of my married friends do the same.

I have been on residential courses where almost everyone is unaccompanied. I have never found myself 'stuck' with anyone. In a group setting socialising is very fluid. You chat to one person over coffee, sit next to another at lunch time and yet another at dinner. I would imagine on a singles holiday the reps would be trained to ensure that people socialise and do not get left in a corner or stuck with someone. It is also up to the holidaymaker to accept that their holiday experience is also dependent on their own actions. You need to go prepared to talk to all and sundry and to cope with the one or two less friendly members. If there is a problem you talk to your rep about it. They are there to solve problems.

Go for it. Nothing venture, nothing win. The holiday could be a disaster and you will not repeat it, but it could open up a vista of happy enjoyable holidays. You will not know until you try one.

Bez Sun 26-Apr-15 20:11:01

I found that if you move to an area where the population is reasonably static and people have all lived in the area, been to the same schools they know a lot about each other and their families etc. and however friendly they are it is not the same for a new person moving in. They are kind and friendly but the deep bond is just not there. I understand completely what you are saying celialillian. I lived in an area where most of the population had moved to rather than being indigenous and it was far easier to make friends not just acquaintances as everyone was actually in the same boat. After twenty years I moved 150 miles away and the cycle starts again.
I am still in touch with one of my school friends and another I made when our sons were great friends. When I speak to or see these women it is as if we last saw each other yesterday - we understand so much about each other and our extended families and our history. That is difficult to create when you move. Anyone who has not experienced it cannot truly understand and going to groups and outings does not cut the mustard in the same way.
Once again I am living in an area where many people are literally immigrants - so the Brit community grows - any of these friends have a good bond as we have common experiences with our culture etc. They will welcome you for the odd cuppa even if you just pop in. Today for instance we were visiting friends who are no longer very mobile - another friend telephoned in fact to speak to OH as he knew we were likely to be there - he needed assistance so we went to him - OH helped with the job and we all had an impromptu lunch.
I have no idea of any solution - am just sorry we are not in the same locality to be able to to all the ladies finding themselves in this situation.

celialillian Fri 22-May-15 10:48:40

Thanks ladies for all your comments, it seems there isn't really an answer to loneliness and this a British thing I wonder, our so called reserve...if that is the case, then other people's reserve attitude, and my reserve attitude, how can we resolve this I ask myself.?????

janeainsworth Fri 22-May-15 13:26:30

I do think we British are reserved compared to the Americans, for example, but I don't think we are different from other Europeans.
MrA and I are travelling round America at the moment, and almost everyone we meet greets us and will embark on a conversation at the slightest opportunity.

But whether this translates into closer friendships, I don't know Celialillian.

I think that's sometimes just luck, meeting someone on your wavelength, but I certainly think it takes a lot of time, and willingness to listen to someone else and be there for them.
I dont know where you live, but have you thought of making a start by going to one of the Gransnet meet-ups?

Good luck sunshine

Elegran Fri 22-May-15 13:54:43

I think that when you are on your own you have to step out of your comfort zone, leave your safe cave for a while and get out there and be the first to suggest things. Don't wait for something that someone else has arranged - perhaps they are all even more hesitant than you are, and are waiting for you to take the plunge.

"How about meeting up some where after these class sessions are over and continuing the discussions we have started?"

"Would anyone like to join me in a visit to the art gallery to see more of the pictures we heard about?"

"These coffees after the meetings are so much fun, what a pity they will soon be over. We should meet up next week, at the same time we would have been at the meeting."

The Gransnet meetups are a great idea. Are there any planned within reach of you? If not, why not put a post in the "Meetups" section and see whether anyone near you is interested? It is here

Nelliemoser Fri 22-May-15 14:47:45

cellialillian As flicketyb posted. I go on holidays my myself to do things I want to do while OH does what he wants to. Which is not an ideal situation in someways.

As Flickety said in her post of Sun 26-Apr-15 19:35:53. The groups I go with are usually special interest with other people going as singles. I find it works very well. Meeting up over particular interest or hobby means that you already have something in common and chatting with others at meal times etc is easy.

Have you tried these. This is where I go.

I have a wonderful time. the range of activities is good. Tables at meals seat about eight and do not have reserved seats. It is understood you can sit where you wish and chat to your neighbour.
It is worth browsing this sort of holiday.

janeainsworth Fri 22-May-15 14:55:46

nellie HF Holidays is the company my friend used to work with. She did short city breaks and garden holidays - they really do seem to have something for everyone.