LONELINESS

  

Marian @ Krysan

THE WELLBEING CONSULTANCY

Planting Golden Seeds in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, and Durham

__________________________ 

MEMORIES R US

 

No story is a straight line. The geometry of a human life is too imperfect and complex, too distorted by the laughter of time and the bewildering intricacies of fate to admit the straight line into its system of laws. PAT CONROY

 

 Photograph from Lorraine Nicholson Collection

 

LONELINESS IN MODERN BRITAIN

(Inform → Persuade → Inspire)

by

Marian Moore

     ALL PEOPLE of gold!

Welcome!  

Today, I am setting out on another journey of discovery. I do this in the absolute certainty that, if I dig deep enough and long enough, I will find something that will inform, persuade and inspire me (and you) on a problem close to my heart:

Loneliness in Modern Britain.

Contrary to what some might think, in writing this I have no delusions of grandeur - none at all. My writing capabilities are no better (or no worse) than most other folk. I don't process quite as quickly as I once did and, at this early stage in the creative process, I even freely admit to knowing little enough about the subject.

Why, then, do I bother?  

I write because I have to. It quietens my mind, and it builds my inner strength. What's more, it satisfies the curiosity I was born with. When not writing, I am usually day-dreaming. In day-dreaming, I'm in search of a way - the most compassionate way - to solve a given problem.   

Creativity in action.

Thankfully, I am no longer the driven, perfectionist I once was. That was (and is) the way of madness; to be avoided at all costs. The inevitable passing of time, coming to terms with life's challenges, and a passion for self-healing through Positive Psychology have mellowed me.  

I may even have grown more wise. Smile

I make the above points as forcibly as is prudent, and ask you to note the lighted candles, the eternal flame lit in memory of times and people past. This said, I now begin this blog in earnest by (1) respectfully requesting your continued attention, and (2) providing the data to inform the debate in hand.

     MARIAN SEEKS to inform!  

It won't have escaped your notice that a great push is on across the world to find a cure for dementia. Alongside this is the promise of millions of dollars for much-needed research. In mental health circles, dementia is seen as an organic disease of the brain and it is only right and proper that, at last, the problem is receiving close and earnest attention.. (See BORN A LADY)

But, there is another equally serious cause for disquiet out there, this affecting even more people. It is related to so-called functional wellbeing. To cut to the chase, an alarming decrease in functional wellbeing in the population is seen as a growing social problem, one that - for a variety of reasons - lies hidden from popular view.  It is estimated that loneliness caused by social isolation adversely affects a million people in Britain today!  

Here's how social affairs correspondent, India Knight, started her column in the Sunday Times on 22 June 2014:

"There's a bit in The Silkworm, the new novel by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling, where the detective asks one of the characters if she has any friends who could help her out with a problem.

"Edna's busy," the character replies, naming her one and only friend.  "There's nobody else."

These are the facts. According to official Office for National Statistics data,:

  • British people are among the most lonely in Europe,
  • are unlikely to know their neighbours, and
  • think they'd probably have to fend for themselves, alone and unaided, in a crisis.  

We are further informed that we are third from the bottom of the EU league tables when it comes to having a close friend to lean on. Moreover, the problem of loneliness is most horribly acute when it knocks on the door of older people.  

Loneliness can occur at any age and can be caused by any number of things: losing your job, divorce, moving house, bereavement, increased frailty, physical or mental illness. I don't wish to worry you (or yours), but it's an inescapable fact that we are all getting older.  It's another inescapable fact that some people's descent into 'decrepitude' will be a sight 'jollier' than that of others.  Unfair, maybe; but a fact of life.

Finally, seasoned commentators such as India Knight (and me) find it difficult to understand why government departments aren't concerning themselves with finding workable solutions to a distressing and growing social issue - the issue of loneliness for untold thousands of older people in modern Britain.  A disgrace!  And, there you have it, the facts of the matter spelled out on this website, yet again.  (See OL4C)

      SUCHITHA SEEKS to persuade!

In readiness for this blog, I asked around and have it on good authority that certain things are happening. My 'good authority' is someone who has her ear close to the ground here in the North East and further afield. Below, she paints a positive picture based on a clear vision of what could and should happen.  

This is what Suchitha wrote,

Dear Marian

Old Age is sometimes the loneliest time of people's lives - tackling this needs a multi-pronged approach. These are only some of my ideas for making a difference to the lives of older people.

1.  GP's practice to employ District Nurses who do regular visits to monitor physical health.  Elderly people with physical problems come under this umbrella and enjoy frequent, regular visits.  Elderly people without any active physical problems may not get such frequent visits, but are still monitored periodically.  The nurses also check on mental health and social interaction.

2.   Family plays the most important role.  Unfortunately, sometimes there is not enough input from the family as everyone is so busy these days.  I feel that grandchildren should be playing an active role here, as they can enliven, entertain and amuse effortlessly.  The importance of family values - of loving and giving selflessly - should be taught to children from a young age. I wonder if schools and local youth clubs could have volunteer groups with checked and vetted trustworthy members who could take on roles of 'Befrienders for the Elderly', concentrating on those who do not get much input from family.  Activities like these are character-building and also will keep the young away from harmful activities and indulgences. 

3.  Social services and charities could pool/provide social outlets like Day Centres easily accessible and affordable for all elderly. My aunt who is nearly 80 years of age lives with her daughter in New York. Her children are away and both her son-in-law and daughter are doctors who work full time.  A free bus picks my aunt up and takes her to a Day Centre where there are a number of activities that she can take part in.  My aunt loves handicrafts like knitting, dressmaking, etc.  She is provided with all the material she needs free of charge and makes patchwork quilts, cardigans, gloves and hats, etc., all of which she gives back to the centre. They, in turn, organise a sale of these articles and the money is pooled back to the centre-fund. This is rewarding for my aunt.  She loves going there. There is also a session of yoga and one of group aerobics.  Also, exercise sessions to music are on the agenda. My aunt has made many friends at the centre and they keep in touch regularly.  There is also a well-used library; she loves reading.  Centres such as these could also have swimming pools.

4.  Volunteers can play a huge role - people who are accomplished in handicrafts, or healing modalities, or can sing or dance, can visit people in their homes and do impromptu sessions. 

5.  With the Internet, people who can afford it can buy/be provided with iPads and laptops through which they can access so many services - old movies, music from singers of their times, etc.

6.  Elderly people who are able and accomplished can themselves be encouraged to teach, hold classes, give talks.

7.  Pets are a blessing to any age group with their unconditional love.  Pets such as budgies are amusing and do not need a lot of work to care for.

8.  Spiritual needs, too, should be catered for through church groups, temples, etc.

9.  If people are taught to Skype, face-time, etc. this could help them keep in touch family who may live miles away, even in another land.

I repeat, these are only some ideas.  I hope this helps.  

Suchitha

Dear Suchitha 

Thank you for your valuable contribution, You have made many valid points for discussion in places other than this. For instance, this very morning I listened to a phone-in on BBC Radio Newcastle.  Well done to presenters, 'Charlie and Alfie', who pressed all the right buttons to alert listeners to the hidden time-bomb of loneliness and isolation ticking quietly away on our doorstep.

Obviously, one can predict trouble for everyone if loneliness is not tackled head-on by sensible interventions, right now.  Third from the bottom of the EU league for loneliness!  People resigned to caring for themselves in times of crisis!  No one to speak to for days, weeks, even months on end!  

I can scarcely believe that I am learning of another failure of our Welfare State to care for our most vulnerable. Respect, dignity and compassion, where art thou, now?

Best Wishes

Marian

     JANE SEEKS to inspire!

In the subject of longevity:

"There have been many revolutions over the last century, but perhaps none as significant as the longevity revolution. We are living on average today 34 years longer than our great-grandparents did. Think about that. That's an entire second adult lifetime that's been added to our lifespan.". JANE FONDA, 2012

At the risk of repeating myself, here again is the video link to Jane Fonda's admirable take on Life's Third Act. To check out this amazing (sometimes controversial) TED talk, simply click on the link below: 

Jane Fonda: Life's third act

If that message isn't inspirational, I don't know what is.  If you haven't already done so, take a look. It's worth the effort - at least in my view.  (See JANE FONDA)

Finally, "No story is a straight line. "The geometry of a human life is too imperfect and complex, too distorted by the laughter of time and the bewildering intricacies of fate to admit the straight line into its system of laws." PAT CONROY.  

  • Beautiful.  
  • Elegant.  
  • Timeless.

I am not too disappointed with my efforts to inform, persuade, and inspire on the subject of loneliness. I am indeed rather pleased that I can leave for what I (and others) see as a well-earned holiday, having put representatives of Mother Nature firmly in control of the ship. 

In signing off for a few days, a few words of advice are proffered to those readers who are lonely, have a troubled mind, or are - in any way - in need of comfort from another human being - 

DON'T YOU QUIT

  • When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
  • When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
  • When the funds are low and the debts are high,
  • And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
  • When care is pressing you down a bit,
  • Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
  • Life is queer with its twists and turns,
  • As every one of us sometimes learns,
  • And many a failure turns about,
  • When he might have won had he stuck it out;
  • Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
  • You may succeed with another blow.
  • Success is failure turned inside out –
  • The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
  • And you never can tell how close you are,
  • It may be near when it seems so far,
  • So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
  • It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Author unknown

It's a WRAP, but that's another story.  Tune in next week when I will explore the other side of the coin in 'you can learn to be happy' ...  And so, I look forward to sharing with you yet another journey of discovery based (loosely) on information, persuasion, and inspiration.  Watch out for I BELIEVE. 

Off to pack!

 

  • Marian Moore
  • June 2014 

 


 

"No money is better spent than what is laid out for domestic satisfaction."
------------------------------------------------------------
- Samuel Johnson

 

 

2,900 hits | 2017-05-20 | Ends


©2008 Krysan. All rights Reserved. Terms & Conditions Privacy Policy Creative Business Support & Website: tr10.com