Marjorie Barker blogs about “overwhelming” loneliness she felt in later life, what she did to combat it and the importance of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness.
When you’re alone, you feel that you can’t achieve anything. This is why the work of Age UK and the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness is so important.
Nobody anticipates loneliness, it just happens. For me it came a decade ago, when my husband Alan developed vascular dementia and I became his carer. Not only did the man I had shared so much with no longer recognise me, but I also lost contact with everything and everyone I had known before. I couldn’t go out, as Alan could not be left alone.
Meaningful conversation was no longer possible with my husband, and for seven years my main form of human interaction came at Alan’s appointments at the memory clinic.
This guest blog was written by Professor Catherine Haslam, recently of Exeter University and now at the University of Queensland, Australia.
Despite living in a world that claims to value its social relationships, we still have a blind spot when it comes to harnessing these relationships in protecting our health and well-being.
Our tendency is to rely primarily on medical and technological advance, but we know now that we do so at our peril if we fail to build our social networks at the same time.
Belonging to social groups and networks — whether they involve family, friends, work colleagues, or other relationships — has been shown, in numerous studies, to be an important predictor of health; just as important as diet and exercise.