Humans are creatures that need to socialize with others, and the connection we have with each other allows us to survive. Still, there are multiple lonely seniors in Finland. There are many reasons for loneliness, for example a death of a spouse, sickness or retiring. All seniors don’t have children or grandchildren, they live far or they are not in contact with each other.
Occasional loneliness can be part of life, but for some, the feeling is long lasting and permanent. Loneliness is a very personal feeling, and it can be sometimes tricky to define. Someone, who enjoys spending time alone, can feel happy in their life, and some can still feel like outsiders, even though they have many social contacts. According to Statistics Finland, the age group that experiences the most loneliness, are over 75 year old seniors.
In the beginning of the corona pandemic, when a lot of places, where people could meet each other, were closing their doors and over 70 year olds were recommended to stay home and isolate, the concern of the impact of loneliness was growing even more. Some of the over 70 year olds are still in good health, so the corona brought them only some difficulties, but they still could contact their loved ones with phones or they could still go out for a walk, just keeping the safety distance. But those who weren’t able to do so, their only contacts with the outside world could have been the home care nurses or the staff in the nursing home.
Social isolation and the loneliness are connected to a lot of health issues, both mental and physical. A research from 2013 mentions, that those who face loneliness have a higher risk of developing depression, anxiety, and also high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and Alzheimer. People with more social contacts and more activities, tend to live longer, and it helps to maintain the overall wellbeing.
The corona crisis showed us, how lonely some people can be. Could we also start to think about our own behavior and pay more attention to those around us?