Loneliness can be hard to recognise. For some, isolation is the result of a recent life event, such as bereavement or ill health; others may have felt detached from the rest of society all their lives and may distance themselves from other people or avoid admitting to being lonely when asked.
You will meet a wide variety of people who are in great need of the simple, life-affirming gift of friendship. You may already know an older person who:
• has strong memories of raising a family and the companionship of marriage, for whom the isolation of old age is all the more painful;
• has poor health or lack of mobility and whose world has contracted;
• has supported a spouse in ill health for many years and this has cut them off from neighbours and friends, making them feel depressed, overwhelmed or anxious;
• lacks the confidence to go out and meet other people;
• finds it difficult to make bonds with other people, who might say, ‘I can be in a room full of people and still feel lonely’.