Loneliness Awareness Week

How to help a loved one in later years cope with the emotional pressures while living alone.

When a loved suddenly finds themselves living alone after long years with a spouse or partner, the experience can be very traumatic. One retired lady described it as watching the world as she knew literally disappear after her partner suddenly passed away. This is especially true for someone in later years when facing bereavement or grief. So it can be up to others to give support while they are coming to terms with living in an empty house, most often surrounded by the memories of happier times. As much as there are practical issues here, there are also emotional implications which come about during a time of loss. Depending on an individual person’s circumstances some may take longer to adjust than others. 

Connecting with family and friends is an important first step but there are often other helping hands around the community prepared to reach out and support people finding themselves living alone for the first time. 

For someone who is struggling to find comrades beyond the doors of their house, they may be encouraged to meet new people by doing a group activity or joining a group for instance. However, it is important to be aware some people should be allowed to go at their own pace and in some cases must not be rushed if it causes distress. So a surrounding network of trusted people consisting of friends and family is necessary as they can provide the familiarity they need at a time of crisis. Alternatively, there are those in their later years who have taken up pets to help them cope when other people are not around.

Another approach is to plan ahead something fun to do to cover the times of the day one is at their most emotionally vulnerable. Scheduled activities will bring genuine contact and companionship with others. A regular afternoon with a good friend to watch a film or arranging to phone someone special provides something to look forward to without the pressure of having to perform. 

Joining forces with other people to try out an unfamiliar activity leads to a shared experience perhaps a sense of belonging as time goes by. Making connections in this way might mean learning new or existing skills from taking up classes. Alternatively, volunteering spare time for a local charity is a great way to make time count. These ideas will maybe help someone to develop resilience and subsequently boost self confidence.

However, there are activities one can do alone which are just as fulfilling and exciting without company. Developing a favourite hobby can bring joy though additionally will reveal opportunities later to join related clubs/friendship groups available bringing like minded people together.

Finally, if one is being kind to themselves there are many ways to develop coping strategies for good wellbeing. Feeling positive with an accepting attitude about the future counteracts some of the more negative emotions such as anger and resentment which will lessen given the right perspective. In any case, living alone is not something we are compelled to feel badly about. Loneliness is an emotion and like all emotions more than likely to slip away once we are able to allow it to. 

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Age Concern Colchester & NE Essex: Our Services

Are you a keen gardener or a board game player? Find a new pal through befriending and share top times. The Age Concern Colchester befriending team will connect you to someone with similar interests: 

Befriending and Friendship

Life’s later years are particularly problematic for many in our community like from bereavement after a spouse has passed away or for those with children living too far away to visit regularly. Having a friendship group or club to attend will help provide companionship. The Veranda offers the following activities for those willing to come along. We do a nice cup of coffee too: 

Veranda Full Timetable

You can find our events page here: 

Events Archive Page

Are you trying to cope with the loss of a loved one? Loss comes in all shapes and sizes. Traditionally this can be bereavement but often other big life changes in later years can also bring about loss in life. Support in loss is run by people who have experienced loss themselves in different ways and is a kind, caring group that is there to listen and share to support working through whatever the loss is.

This service is by appointment so please contact us for more information on 01206 368420:

Support in Loss Service