Dr John Smith: The lonely need good neighbours

The lonely need good neighbours, says Dr John
The lonely need good neighbours, says Dr John

More than three and a half million elderly people live alone.

What a huge number that is and it is one that will increase massively over the next few decades.

Some, perhaps many of you reading this, will be one of them.

Living alone may not be a problem for you, for some it may be a time of treasured independence, of flourishing, but for others it will be a time that nothing in life has prepared you for.

We spend so much of our lives with other people, our parents, friends at college, wives and husbands, our children, our work colleagues, until, often in old age, we are alone.

It is almost as if part of us has been amputated. Everything is still there but something is missing.

We look forward to good things happening, not to sad, difficult things.

But sad and difficult things do happen and leave us alone.

Difficult though it is many are supported by family and friends who make a point of visiting, loving and caring. Supporting.

But others will have none of that. At the other extreme there may be no love, no care and no support.

Many housebound elderly have less than one visit each week. That fact will be true for many of the three plus million.

Why am I telling you all this? Why am I telling myself this? Most of us do not live alone, we take company for granted and with it being loved, cared for and supported.

We, that’s me and you, need to think about it. Are there people who live alone in the road where you live?

Is it possible that they might welcome your care and support? Alone does not mean being alone.

A word of caution in this difficult age. Take care, do not take advantage and recognize that many who live alone are content.

Being cared about needs caution as well. What am I trying to say? Be a good neighbour, that sums it up.