Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Quiet Epidemic

Today’s return to my water aerobics BFFs connected in a small way to Tuesday’s exercise class at a neighboring Senior Center. 

          What with one thing and another, I hadn’t been to the Y for almost two weeks and it was good to see Mary, who’s never lacking in conversation, togged out in a new swimsuit (purple and very flattering- from Costco, yet) and deepened tan. I caught up with Renata of the German accent, who also travels to Venice FL each winter. Debbie, the retired math teacher with the caustic wit, was there. I offered Ruth, friend and neighbor here at the condo and fellow Tuesday athlete, my bicycle to test drive since yesterday she said she was thinking about buying one. Quiet Diane was there and she managed a friendly nod and comment on the weather. Sweet and frail Ethel, who can’t be a day under 85, was there in the shallow end gamely attempting most of our moves.

          A few were missing – Alice, who was out for a while with the ugliness of chemo treatments, but who seems to be on the mend. Jane, who’s 83 but looks 72, and who was likely leading her own aerobics in her complex’s pool.

          None of us socialize outside of this class, but we always find plenty to say when we do get together and sometimes that one hour in the day meets my interaction needs for the day.

          Yesterday I said hello to the woman in the exercise class at the Senior Center who I knew from my teaching days. Her second husband died a couple of years ago, and while she has several kids and they live nearby, I suspect she finds it hard living alone.

          As superficial chit-chat, I asked her if she’d had a good Fourth of July.

She said, “I guess – I spent it alone.”

While I was fumbling for a response to that, she said, “I was in today’s paper.”

Thankful for a change of subject, I said, “Really! What about?”

She said, “The article on the ‘loneliness epidemic of seniors””

(Article excerpt:) Entries are due by Sept 28 under a new competition designed to come up with new ways to reduce isolation among older adults.. . . .studies show that 29% of older adults are socially isolated.


  1. I suspect that loneliness epidemic crosses age boundaries. I think/believe/fear that loneliness is at the core of almost every call we receive on the crisis line. And those numbers are growing. Exponentially.

  2. seems someone else posted about this recently, the loneliness of the elderly. once you are housebound you are dependent of the actions of others. I hope my general tendency to being anti-social will come in handy then. also my attempts to stay healthy and active. house sharing for the elderly could be a solution.

  3. At least that woman has kids nearby and gets out to an exercise class. That must help. Like Ellen, I tend to spend a lot of my time on my own anyway, so hopefully I won't mind reaching that stage of life when it comes!

  4. There are articles in papers here too about social inclusion for seniors, get out and meet people they say, join some groups for walking, exercise etc. But not everyone needs those things, some of us like being alone with our books and dvds and comfy chairs.

  5. I really like the snippets of description you used to give me an idea of these ladies. I am 75 and spend much of my time outdoors in one way or another. I should check out the bathing suits at Costco; I'm in need of a new one myself. Blogging gives me yet another circle of friends, and I'm glad to have you in it as well. :-)

    1. Thank you, DJan, and I agree. On those quiet days by myself I find another type of connection through blogging.

  6. Our falls prevention class for seniors became a very friendly group. Much more so the spring group than the winter group. Group dynamics are interesting.

  7. My husband and I are loners, both only children, both raised in reasonably isolated places. As a neighbor puts it, 'we're all sociable but not social' which sums up his life as well as ours.
    I like company, because eventually when the cake is gone, they go home.

    But at 72 I wonder if being this isolated is all that good. I don't mind it, never have. When my husband worked, I would spend 11 hours a day on my own, and loved it. If I didn't have the computer now, after a few weeks I'd be back to solitaire on the table and crosswords in the NYT.
    But I do wonder, being truly alone, day and night, what that would be like.

  8. I must sayI find that the fun days when we had classmates and later work mates has passed and over time all the acquaintances have faded away. Though I have my handicapped adult son around and an increasing demented hubby I do feel more alone now and internet as well as other media has made it less lonely. I think a senior activity helps but I have little chance to get to one. I once longed to live in a retirement place but that faded as I visited some rather depressing places. You do not follow me but I do enjoy your posts.

  9. I read your posts as often as I can and find your way of expression this time a bit amusing. I share the age and am well physically but have a very limited vision now. IPads are my savior in that all can be made big. And I use my iPhone camera to take pics of things I cannot read like labels because a photo can be enlarged. My senior world is trying my best. As for being alone I worry a bit but having a Down syndrome adult son around me I feel okay most of the time.


Thanks for stopping by and I'd love to hear what you think.