As our days become busier with performance pressures from work and activities that keep us on the go, the casual conversation is becoming a lost art. Socializing with neighbors is essential in our communities for safety and connection. No age group feels this more than our senior population. With a deep well of wisdom honed over a lifetime, take a moment to say hello and learn more about the elderly living on your street. You might discover you are the one who benefits from the potential friendship.
Listen to a senior, combat loneliness
by Elyse Umlauf-Garneau
Senior loneliness is pervasive around the globe and a condition that can affect people’s physical and mental health. And though most boomers and seniors want to stay in their home to age, it often can be a lonely endeavor.
Even in neighborhoods that are full of people, seniors often look outside and see no one.
Kids are busy with activities and school, parents are working and running the kids around, and there’s often little time or opportunity to get to know neighbors.
In a New York Times essay, Spencer Morgan talks about his experience of a chance meeting with a senior in his neighborhood.
Morgan was approached by an 88-year-old man who chatted him up and then ended the conversation by saying, “But before I let you go … you seem like a nice young man … and well, this is a nice block, but it’s changed a lot. And mainly people just keep to themselves, and, well, my wife and I, most of our friends have died, and, well, oftentimes we feel lonely.”
Morgan invited the man and his wife to their Easter brunch. They accepted.
“We can do better,” writes Morgan.
Yes, we can. His solution is dead simple.
“Next time you’re out for a walk in your neighborhood and you spot an elder man or woman, introduce yourself. The task is simple: begin a conversation, tell something about yourself, listen for any interests they share with you so you can engage them in a meaningful way next time you see each other,” he writes.