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Old 08-16-2011, 06:27 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,479,691 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCBaker View Post
I have thought about the title of this thread and have spent some time wondering why so many of us feel so alone. Might be because some of us can remember growing up in neighborhoods where everyone knew each other and neighbors eagerly stepped up to the plate to assist others in need. Often times you were loved & cared for as family members. For the most part those neighborhoods and the people who lived in them are long gone. Does anyone still live in such a neighborhood?
We do. It's a community of 212 homes on the shore of a lake and somewhat isolated. A lot of us are retirees but there are younger people here, many with children. We all watch out for one another and the neighborhood. It's a bit like stepping back in time to a better one.
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Old 08-16-2011, 07:17 PM
 
Location: Arizona
419 posts, read 657,930 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
We do. It's a community of 212 homes on the shore of a lake and somewhat isolated. A lot of us are retirees but there are younger people here, many with children. We all watch out for one another and the neighborhood. It's a bit like stepping back in time to a better one.
Fantastic! Living on a lake shore in a beautiful midwestern state. You made a great choice. Great to know those caring neighborhoods still exist in the 21st century.
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Old 08-16-2011, 07:44 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,973,893 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCBaker View Post
I have thought about the title of this thread and have spent some time wondering why so many of us feel so alone. Might be because some of us can remember growing up in neighborhoods where everyone knew each other and neighbors eagerly stepped up to the plate to assist others in need. Often times you were loved & cared for as family members. For the most part those neighborhoods and the people who lived in them are long gone. Does anyone still live in such a neighborhood?

Here is just one heartwarming story of people still carrying on the tradition of caring in my beloved Detroit. detroitblog Blog Archive Keys to the city:
Great story, thanks for posting.

From the blog: "but mostly because just about everyone wants a place to go where they are made to feel like they belong."

This may be what most of us are searching for as we age...


BTW, I used the word "aloneness" rather than "loneliness" in the title of this thread because I'm really not talking about loneliness, but about the sense of being alone, without family or friends or other sources of good support, in older years--esp the older-older years. I mean isolation in that sense. Some people like that, and are not lonely, but there are definite issues in being physically "alone."
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:33 AM
 
4,574 posts, read 7,058,318 times
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I agree, there are lots of legal steps one can take to put things in place if anyone wants to go that route.

Where I live, there are 3 of us who live right close by and watch out for each other daily (just mostly be observant if something seems out of the norm, watching houses when on vacation, helping out if somebody is sick, etc). We've talked about how nice it is to know there is someone around to do that...it was slow in developing but we are all very grateful to have each other around. If something did happen to one of us, we would probably be the first to know or discover it. I have phone numbers on who to call, etc. and I have an envelope put together with all my pertinent information too. It's hard stuff to talk to people about but it is necessary because all of our "relatives" live far away.

There was a book called "Loneliness in America" published quite a few years ago that was very good, about the changing of our society, and probably even more true today.

I used to volunteer in a nursing home and a very high percentage of the people there NEVER got any visitors, only a few did on a regular basis, and those that did, it was usually just birthdays and holidays. It is really an eye-opener to spend time in nursing homes...
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:08 AM
 
Location: England
24,799 posts, read 6,170,208 times
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I remember my father telling me when I was a boy what life was like in his neighborhood
when he was growing up in the 30s. The town he grew up in was a northern English mill
town. At the dawn of the industrial age in the 1860s mills used to build houses around the
mill for the workers. Long rows of small two bedroomed terrace houses. Some with very large families, but he said everyone used to look out for each other, and keep an eye on the
elderly - no social services then. If someone died, not always old, sometimes children who died of diseases easily treated today, everyone in the neighbourhood went to view the
deceased, normally in the living room of the house, to pay their respects. This time is long
gone now, people are so wrapped up in their own lives, they don't care about their elderly
neighbours anymore.
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Old 08-17-2011, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
326 posts, read 674,191 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by English Dave View Post
This time is long gone now, people are so wrapped up in their own lives, they don't care about their elderly neighbours anymore.
A lot of what you said is true, but people today, including the elderly, are more "sophisticated" because of the complexity of the society.

I have an older friend who lives quite far from me. We were good friends way back when I was a grad student in college, her husband was still alive, and I didn't know they were rich. Later, I had to move for a job and they moved for their retirement.

I visited her a couple of years ago for 4 days after not seeing her for several years, and helped with some basic household things while I was there. She enjoyed it (she told me), but sat me down the last day of my visit and asked if I wanted anything from her. When I said "no - off course not", she asked again "not anything? jewelry, money or anything?" and when answered "no" again, she then asked "why did you come to visit?". I was stunned. My whole trip was saddened by this. I had to fly 3+ hours, rented a car, drove another 3 hours, lived in a motel for 4 nights away from my family, used up my vacation time from work and had to spend another day in a car and flight going back for the trip. I was just not expecting her say that.

I have heard rich people have a tendency of suspicious of others' friendship towards them. I've always consciously kept some distance, because I didn't want her to think that I wanted to be friend with her to get her money.

I still want to be friends with her because of who she is, the past memories, and (honestly) empathy towards her (she is all alone with no relatives). I don't care for her money and don't want a dime of it. Yet, our very different social status still get in the way.

This year, I'll have another chance to visit her. But I don't think I want to go. Maybe I'll never see her again. This brings tears to my eyes as I type.
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,973,893 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cls88 View Post
A lot of what you said is true, but people today, including the elderly, are more "sophisticated" because of the complexity of the society.

I have an older friend who lives quite far from me. We were good friends way back when I was a grad student in college, her husband was still alive, and I didn't know they were rich. Later, I had to move for a job and they moved for their retirement.

I visited her a couple of years ago for 4 days after not seeing her for several years, and helped with some basic household things while I was there. She enjoyed it (she told me), but sat me down the last day of my visit and asked if I wanted anything from her. When I said "no - off course not", she asked again "not anything? jewelry, money or anything?" and when answered "no" again, she then asked "why did you come to visit?". I was stunned. My whole trip was saddened by this. I had to fly 3+ hours, rented a car, drove another 3 hours, lived in a motel for 4 nights away from my family, used up my vacation time from work and had to spend another day in a car and flight going back for the trip. I was just not expecting her say that.

I have heard rich people have a tendency of suspicious of others' friendship towards them. I've always consciously kept some distance, because I didn't want her to think that I wanted to be friend with her to get her money.

I still want to be friends with her because of who she is, the past memories, and (honestly) empathy towards her (she is all alone with no relatives). I don't care for her money and don't want a dime of it. Yet, our very different social status still get in the way.

This year, I'll have another chance to visit her. But I don't think I want to go. Maybe I'll never see her again. This brings tears to my eyes as I type.
This whole story is amazing. It makes me conscious, once again, of class/status differences between friends, which can be very profound and despite the willingness to overlook them in older age, they are still unmistakably there. How is this person dealing with "aloneness" in old age if she doesn't trust those who reach out to her???
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:10 PM
 
4,481 posts, read 4,742,235 times
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In the apt. complex I live in there is a 92 yr old man who has lived there for over 40yrs. His wife died in 2000. He actually is a fairly active 92 yr old and people in the buildings are fairly attentive to him whenever there is a problem. He likes talking and walks around the buildings daily and meets and greets everyone. Every year there is a birthday party for him too.
I think there are a lot of factors that go into whether someone "has" others or not.
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
326 posts, read 674,191 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
How is this person dealing with "aloneness" in old age if she doesn't trust those who reach out to her???
My friend is a highly educated and very sophisticated. We never talked about emotional things regarding her living by herself. She might be fine or she might have friends who are in her class or friends she doesn't suspect. I don't know. I try not to intrude her live by staying away from topics she doesn't start. She has a dog and some people around her, a house cleaning lady who visits a couple of times of a week, a dog walker, and a handyman who is almost employed full time at her property.

Have you read Doris Duke's story? Her dad had told her not trusting anyone ever since she was a little girl. She grew up not being able to trust anyone and consequently never got married. It was a very sad story even though she had money to buy anything in the world.

It happens. I would rather be very poor than not being able to trust anyone around me. But everyone is different.
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,735,102 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cls88 View Post
This year, I'll have another chance to visit her. But I don't think I want to go. Maybe I'll never see her again. This brings tears to my eyes as I type.
Do go visit her, please, despite the unfortunate suspicions which she has. You have a genuine feeling for this elderly lady, with fond and deep memories of past good times. When she asked you why you came to visit, I'm sure you must have explained that it was out of genuine friendship. She has had time to think about that, and who knows, she may have accepted it by now.
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