We have all experienced that momentary feeling of dread – the one when we think we might get some bad news or when we are going into a room of people we don’t know:
- ‘will anyone talk with me?’,
- ‘am I going to trip on something and make a complete fool of myself?’
But for most people, that’s only a momentary feeling. We soon get over it.
But some people are constantly in a position where this sums up a much more permanent feeling. There is never anyone to:
- Come with you to the hospital assessment
- Enjoy a new club or a trip to the sea
- Help when you need to find a tradesman and know no one to recommend one so whoever came to your door would be a complete unknown, a stranger
- Help when you are not able to hear very well and have a whole troop of agencies knocking at the door and asking questions you could not answer – not because you do not know the answer but because you cannot hear, therefore understand, what is being said
For people who now live alone, this could be their day-to-day life.
Isolation and loneliness are not necessarily the same, but their impact on day-to-day living can be severe.
This is not easy but it starts with identifying those who are lonely or isolated. Simply getting alongside people who you know are by themselves and paying attention to events in their day to day lives. Becoming a ‘trusted, reliable’ contact who can be seen as having time and being genuinely interested in what is happening can often lead to the opportunity to accompany someone at times when a ‘second pair of ears’ would be good or having someone to ‘go with’ would mean that ‘you went’.
The ‘what’ is dependent on the person you are with but can include:
- Establishing a joint interest and joining a club together
- Being present when tradesmen or care services call
- Working alongside people to achieve day to day tasks – shopping, gardening, housework
- Going along to a hospital appointment to make sure no information is ‘missed’
- Being with them when the benefits assessor calls
- Taking a trip that you will both enjoy, somewhere you have both always wanted to visit
Spending time with, and valuing, those around you can lead to extraordinary sharing, laughter, learning and the building of a long term friendship.