Does your loved one feel lonely? If so, you may be unsure how to help them, especially if you can’t spare much time or find small talk tricky. But these suggestions will smooth the way for you, and you’ll feel glad you made the effort when you see the rewarding results of your kindness.
Company is invaluable to a lonely person; the shortest visit will brighten their day and give them fresh, new thoughts to sweep away the old, gloomy ones. It might suit you both to set a day and time for visiting. That way, they’ll have something to look forward to and you can plan your other commitments around the little event. If you live too far away to visit, a regular phone call or Skype chat will also bring joy.
Don’t worry about what to talk about when you make contact with your lonesome loved one. They’ll be glad for a chance to talk for a change, so you can sit back and listen. They’ll welcome your sympathetic ear, too, so let them moan about their problems if they must – you may be their only listener. If they’re elderly, ask them about the past; they’ll delight in sharing their cherished memories. If they’re younger, ask about their hopes and plans; perhaps they could do with some guidance and encouragement.
A person living alone may feel further isolated by the thought that no one knows or values them. This is particularly likely with an older person, whose prime of life was long ago. Show an interest in your loved one’s or relative’s past and praise their achievements. They may have children or grandchildren – even if they seldom see them – in which case, sure to take an interest in them, too. Admire any family photos and mementos you’re shown; it may be a long time since they’ve had anyone to share them with.
Offer help with meeting people
One of the biggest favors you can do for your lonesome friend is to help them organize some social life. Encourage them to contact old friends and invite neighbors in. If you know of any other people in need of company, see if you can put them in touch with each other and help arrange for them to meet. Find out what social groups there are in the area and encourage your loved one to join one. Choirs, book clubs, knitting groups, and gardening societies all offer good company, as do many other gatherings.
Encourage new interests
An interest keeps the mind absorbed and stops negative thoughts from slipping in, so urge your loved one to take up a new pastime. Suggest they try out some new recipes or take up wine-making, perhaps. If they’re artistic, tell them to get the paints out; if they have a musical instrument gathering dust in the corner, ask for a tune to get them playing again. The possibilities for pastimes are endless.
Loneliness is avoidable, and once you’ve got that message across to your loved one, they’ll be able to turn over a new page and start looking outwards instead of in. As for your visits or phone calls, they may need to be rescheduled around their bustling, new lifestyle!