A weekly feature for Lumby, Cherryville, and area seniors. For more information about any of the following please contact Colleen or Jenny at (250) 547-8866 Whitevalley Community Resource Centre Office (250) 547-8866. Funding support provided by Interior Health, the Province of British Columbia (Community Gaming), United Way Southern Interior and United Way Lower Mainland.
How strange it is that in a lot of ways, we are more connected than we have ever been thanks to modern technology, but yet many of us are lonelier than ever before. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced us in physical distancing an estimated one in five Canadians admitted to feeling lonely, occasionally or much of the time. Feeling alone can cause mental misery but for older adults in particular, it can wreak physical havoc and increase the risk of health problems from heart disease to even premature death.
There are things we can do to lift our spirits and assist those seniors close to us.
Pinpoint the problem
Solving any problem begins with recognizing it. Although, admitting to loneliness can be a challenge as it can manifest with symptoms like lack of sleep and energy; being tearful, anxious or angry; substance abuse and even body pains. If you are feeling this way, it is easy to become more withdrawn, so determining the issue is vital.
Set up structure
As we age and eventually retire, we lose much of our structured routine and one day can blend into the next easily. Most of us are creatures of habit so sticking to a routine can be beneficial. Treat that morning walk or a phone call with a friend as an appointment that you cannot break. Push yourself to follow through.
Movement is so important and can energize you mentally and physically. You do not have to run a marathon as even short outings can be hugely beneficial.
Help someone else
Finding opportunities to be of service in your community can bring a strong sense of purpose and the possibilities are endless; from fostering connections that already exist, to finding a volunteer position, offering a neighbour some help or sending a bouquet of flowers. Acts of kindness bear many rewards for all involved.
Some elderly cannot be expected to find solutions for themselves when they are struggling to cope. If this is the case, talk to your doctor. Your physician can help differentiate between loneliness and chronic depression and assist in any referrals needed.
It is normal to feel lonely sometimes, but if that feeling becomes constant, it is time to make some changes.
Whitevalley Community Resource Centre is a local non-profit agency that can help with senior services, information, supports, counselling, referrals and resources. Please call 250-547-8866 for more information.