The astonishing rise in our average life span over the last century, from an average of 50 to 80 years, hides a risk which society must learn to address.
In Canada, Statistics Canada, finds 1 in 5 elderly Canadians identify as feeling Lonely. 28% of Canadian households consist of someone living alone.
Ami Rokach, who studies loneliness found people who are 80 years old report they are lonely 80% of the time. The American Spectator states 25% of American elderly have no one to confide in.
Leading Factors: As spouses and close friends die their direct social contacts are cut off. Children leave home and have families of their own. Pressures of time and money, suburbanization, community sprawl, electronic entertainment and cell phones often lead to loss of human interaction. Current evidence indicates a heightened risk for mortality, including a 30% risk for premature death. Loneliness is as dangerous as obesity or smoking!
Dr Kevin Vast, in his Catholic Guide to Loneliness states that if we are truly to be awaken as Christians we must awaken to each other’s needs, including the need for community and interpersonal connections. As women of the League we must ask ourselves what we can do to stem the tide of loneliness.
Here are some ways to help:
- Visit the elderly in their homes;
- encourage social interaction, coffee groups, card games;
- take them to church and church functions;
- go for walks with them encourage mobility
- develop a spiritual friendship centered in Christ;
- bring them Communion;
- pray the rosary with them;
- visit retirement residences and long term care facilities;
- form a rosary group;
- remind them they are never alone Jesus is always with them.
As we grow in awareness of our lonely brothers and sisters in Christ, reach out to them to lighten their load.
Matthew 25:40 “and the King will answer, ’Truly I say to you, as you did it for one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me.’’’
Chris Mc Kenzie
Christian Family Life Chair