Loneliness and Cohousing or Intentional Communities
The increasing loneliness in her life
was described by one senior as beginning to feel like her life was as cold
as the moon.
Seniors and Loneliness
Regardless of the fullness of our life as a young or middle-aged adult, there seems to be more loneliness involved as we age.
Work: Many people, men and women, but particularly men, have their social network tied up in work. If they see people outside of work, numerous people play a game of golf or watch football with friends from work. At retirement, that network starts to dry up.
Family: As we age, so does our family. Siblings die or become disabled. Children, then even grandchildren, grow up, move away, or become involved in their own lives and children. We long to see them, but don't want to feel like we are a burden to them, so often don't even call them.....
Friends: Our friends age, too. They retire and leave for other places, become disabled or frail, and even die. It is hard to replace a social network of friends and even harder to replace a "best friend."
Spouses: Often the most lonely happening in our lives is to lose our spouse. Many have their spouse as their only close confidant.
Driving: A real blow to independence is losing the automobile. It probably starts with curtailment of night driving, then long auto trips, but the end result for many seniors is giving up the automobile altogether. We live in a society of cars in most suburban and many urban areas so those of us who do not drive one are immediately set apart.
All of these don't happen at one time--it is a gradual process. The net effect, though, is increasing isolation for seniors.
Any intentional community or cohousing community can halt isolation and, thus, a lot of the loneliness for seniors.
Why is this?
People generally suffer from two forms of loneliness:
People who describe social loneliness refer to feelings of boredom, restlessness, and feeling left out.
Social loneliness stems from an absence of a social network. Cohousing will probably solve social loneliness for almost everyone.
People who describe emotional loneliness speak of feelings of anxiety and emptiness.
Even a very socially active person can suffer from this type of loneliness when his/her social network is comprised of superficial acquaintances. Even a marriage which is not embedded in a close relationship is often described as lonely.
One close confidant can cure emotional loneliness for many people. However, that close relationship is much harder to build than a social network. Cohousing gives you an opportunity to make a few really close friends.
Senior Cohousing Directory
Active Lifestyle of Elder
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Note: The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the writers or other participants and do not necessarily reflect the position of CyberParent. They are not intended to take the place of advice of a health, legal, or other professional whose expertise you might need to seek.