Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Campaign to end loneliness

(149 Posts)
LaraGransnet (GNHQ) Fri 18-Oct-13 10:04:41

Jeremy Hunt to highlight plight of 'chronically lonely'.
Do you have neighbours/friends/parents who are on their own a lot? Do busy families sometimes unintentionally neglect older members of their family?

Be great to hear gransnetters' views. How closely involved were your grandparents in your lives? Is it easier/more difficult these days to be as involved in your grandchildren's lives? Distance is an issue for many of course.

annodomini Fri 18-Oct-13 10:32:15

Lara. I don't think it's only 'neighbours/friends/parents' who are alone a lot. It must be some of us, though I guess that most grans would hate to admit to being lonely.

janthea Fri 18-Oct-13 10:34:19

annodomini I agree. During the week I'm at work but the evenings are very quiet. If I don't see my DD and grandchildren at the weekends then it is rather lonely.

whenim64 Fri 18-Oct-13 10:40:33

I was taught to help my grandparents, doing a bit of ironing, taking my grandmother shopping, running grandad to hospital appointments and suchlike. Then, when my parents needed assistance, I did the same. My children were too young to be able to provide that sort of support, and they have no grandparents now, so the first time they'll be involved in helping someone elderly and frail will be with me and my ex. However, when I reach that stage I'll be able to do things like internet shopping and as I drive I expect I'll be independent for longer than my grandparents were. My clothes don't need much in the way of ironing, I can always call in a gardener, and I can keep on top of housework with just a few minutes effort a day.

So, it comes down to company, having visits from family, receiving phone calls and chatting to them online. At present, I have a busy role helping with grandchildren and my adult children all work. When that changes, I guess they'll be checking out whether I feel lonely, and so will my friends. This has made me think about how my family might help me and my friends see each other face to face if we become dependent on our children. I don't mind my own company for days on end, as I can always find things to keep me occupied, but enforced isolation might feel different. I am confident that my family would want to help resolve loneliness - in practical terms, though, I'm not that keen on moving in with any of them - like my own surroundings too much!

KatyK Fri 18-Oct-13 10:55:40

I think if I didn't have my husband I would be a bit lonely. I also think busy families unintentionally neglect older family members. When grandchildren are small, your children need you more but as time goes on they need you less and that's when the loneliness can set in. At times I think they sort of forget that you are there. We in our 60s and fit and healthy but I occasionally worry about the future.

Galen Fri 18-Oct-13 11:02:25

I'm on my own when I'm not working and I admit to being lonely. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth going on with life?

Tegan Fri 18-Oct-13 11:04:58

I think we sort of get used to our older family members and don't see them as interesting people any more [if that makes sense]. I heard at the gym the other day that libraries have a scheme whereby people take books to housebound people [you're allocated 2-3 people to deliver to]. This sounds like a very worthwhile scheme and I'm going to find out more, as it gives a framework for discussion with that person as well. You get a petrol allowance for doing it as well.

Tegan Fri 18-Oct-13 11:11:04

Galen; I'm really missing the people I worked with [staff and patients] because for a few hours each day I'd be meeting an assortment of different people. An empty house is soo 'empty'. I was going out with someone from Birmingham years ago and when I came back to my own house on Sunday evening I could feel the silence. Strangely enough my daughter stopped by when I was out once and I knew straight away that the house hadn't been empty. I don't have a laptop or tablet thingy, so have the pooter on. Sometimes I leave it on overnight and actually feel that I'm not on my own.

Flowerofthewest Fri 18-Oct-13 11:13:03

My mother complains that the grandchildren don't visit her - when they do all she does is complain about members of the family. It is not a joy to be there at all. She have a fairly active life - walks to the town every day and meets friends for coffee and lunch. We have her round and take her out at least once a week. I am not sure she is lonely, alone - yes, but lonely, not sure. If she is here for any length of time she is always wanting to rush home to catch the snooker or whatever else she is watching on TV. If I asked her if she was lonely she would say NO.

She would not entertain sheltered housing or moving in with either my sister or myself and to be honest I know I could not cope with her behaviour.

I think loneliness is a state of mind. My best friend lives alone but isn't lonely. I'm not sure how I would be if I didn't have my DDH. I would miss him terribly but know that I would still make the best of life.

JessM Fri 18-Oct-13 11:13:25

Fraid Jeremy Hunt is not a good person to be preaching to us.
As author of the NHS reforms in England...
He is presumably trying to make himself look like a nice kind person who cares about the very old. I am unconvinced.

Also there is much conflict in China - some of it legal - about the duty (or not) of children to care for parents. Children can now be sued by their parents apparently. hmm So stereotypical comparisons to "Asian cultures" are a little ill-judged.

Galen Fri 18-Oct-13 11:16:35

The appeal tribunal work is dropping as they have engaged hundreds of new doctors and I'm also coming up to the retiring age.
Amazingly I'm told that about 85% of the pip applications are succeeding so even less work I suppose.
Really don't know what I'm going to do with myself.
Can't stay on GN all day! Can I?

Tegan Fri 18-Oct-13 11:19:33

Well, for a start we'll drag you to Chepstow when we next go to a meeting there! I'll drag you down to my level, Galen...before you know it you'll be sitting in Ladbrokes nattering with the blokes about the 3.15 at Kempton!

Galen Fri 18-Oct-13 11:22:23

I like horse racing. Never been to meet though!
Chepstow! Can almost see it from here![htlsmile]

Galen Fri 18-Oct-13 11:22:44


annodomini Fri 18-Oct-13 11:26:45

I live alone and have always insisted that being alone doesn't mean being lonely. I am involved in U3A and NWR activities but am alone at home a lot. There doesn't seem to be the same 'dropping in' culture that there once was. Like my father before me, I have always been happy with my own company, but appreciate company when I have it.

gillybob Fri 18-Oct-13 11:28:23

I adore my grandma. But lately she has become quite selfish (probably not the right word but I hope you know what I mean). She EXPECTS me to be there all of the time and once she gets me there it is very hard to get back out. I am now finding myself telling fibs (white lies) in order to make a getaway. If I said "grandma, I need to leave because I want to go home and make tea" she wouldn't understand and would probably say "you can have your tea here with me" so I have to make my need to leave sound much more important! I keep telling her (although I dont think she gets it) that at 97 she is very lucky to have regular visits from her grandchildren, her great grandchildren and a couple of times a month her great great grandchildren who absolutely love her as they work on a similar wavelength. She has three visits a day from a carer and has wonderful neighbours and friends who pop in almost everyday too. She is picked up and taken to church every week. I tell her that some old people never see a soul (which I find terribly sad) and she will say something like "Their families should be shot" .

Tegan Fri 18-Oct-13 11:28:44

Wahay; we'll get a cup of tea as well then grin. I have a friend that works for William Hill Racing Radio so I often have that on during the day. And last night I had an Australian radio staion on [I was trying to find a link for the Melbourne Cup which is on in a couple of weeks] so I pretended I was in Australia for the evening. They talk about 'preciptiation' and suchlike which is a glamorous way of saying gloomy and overcast [I think]. G'day....

whenim64 Fri 18-Oct-13 11:28:55

Galen I wish we all lived nearer each other. You woud be begging for time alone after being besieged by a constant flow of Gansnetters to your door! flowers

Galen Fri 18-Oct-13 11:32:48


ffinnochio Fri 18-Oct-13 11:40:15

Ditto when!

I've had periods of deep loneliness, whether in company or not, but I do like my own company though, which is quite a different kettle of fish.

Good point Jess, on both counts.

j08 Fri 18-Oct-13 12:33:49

I heard this on the Today programme. I think it would be a start if companies could be made to stop sending employees to work in a branch miles from their family. A friend of ours has recently been sent to manage a Lake District branch on "you will go or else" basis. He presently lives in the south-east. Never mind about his extended family. hmm

j08 Fri 18-Oct-13 12:36:11

I cannot imagine ever moving in with an adult grandchild, as was suggested. Would be so unfair on them.

Is this the gov shifting responsibility?

j08 Fri 18-Oct-13 12:37:47

I can't take too much of my own company. I like to know someone will be coming in later on.

j08 Fri 18-Oct-13 12:39:28

I lived with my granny. She was made my foster mother for finance reasons. I loved her so much. I seem to think of her more and more now.

Mishap Fri 18-Oct-13 12:43:49

I am so irritated by Mr Hunt. He is saying that residential care should be a last resort. This is annoying for two reasons:
- one is that residential care SHOULD sometimes be the first resort as it will provide a particular individual with what they need - and part of that need is for company.
- the reason that so many people have to resort to residential care is that the government has not funded care in the community properly; nor valued and supported carers as it should.

I get sick of politicians pontificating on subjects they know nothing about; and blaming "society" for failures ion government policy.

Galen I am sorry that you have lonely days - send us messages - we always enjoy hearing from you!