Loneliness carries a stigma, so we don’t easily admit that we are lonely and it’s hard to ask for help. However, most of us have experienced loneliness at some point. We should always listen if someone tells us they’re lonely; it can be a rare opportunity for them to tell how they are feeling and have someone listen to them. The loneliness of the elderly is usually caused by some life event, like a death of a spouse, divorce, retirement or a sickness. In addition to lending a listening ear, an older person might need someone, who helps them to go to and take part in different activities and social functions.
What actions we can take on helping the lonely elderly?
You can’t always just remove the loneliness from someone’s life, but even a small act or deed might have a huge impact. If you have seniors in your neighborhood or you know someone who might be lonely, you can approach them and ask them to join you in some activity, for example. Some people don’t feel comfortable in a big group or don’t like to participate in activities, and in those cases the most support you can give is by listening and just being there for them and maybe pay a visit.
But unfortunately, sometimes the help doesn’t reach those who are in the most need. For preventing the loneliness, we also need operation models on a national level for how to reach those who are falling behind the services.
How to help?
There are many organizations around Finland, who offer many kinds of activities for seniors and they are looking for volunteers. You can also contact different nursing homes in your area and ask if they’re looking for volunteers.
Check out these links: VTKL – The Finnish Association for the Welfare of Older People, Finnish Red Cross and Vapaaehtoiseksi Seniorille (Only in Finnish)
Christmas is coming, and you can still participate (16.11. – 11.12.2020) in Siskot and Simo’s “Christmas Post to the Elderly” – campaign (the list of the municipalities who have joined the campaign is on the website) and send someone a warm christmas greeting!