Seniors fighting the slab of loneliness, with other elders

"The loneliness is horrible, it looks like a slab on your shoulders and weighs on your shoulders and drowns you," says Ramona, who puts the face of one of the two million older people living alone in Spain, of which more than 70 percent are women.

She has broken the involuntary social isolation in which she was thanks to activities she does during the week, with which she has regained the relationship with other people. "Now the weekend has me bitter, alone with the television; I am waiting for Thursday to arrive as May water," Ramona explains, which they also accompany when they have doctors or do paperwork.

In one of those Red Cross programs to accompany the elderly, he has met Jerónima, with whom, despite living two streets away, he had never spoken. "You don't have to be a coward, you have to go out," says Jerónima, who doesn't lack a smile despite her difficulties of autonomy and her loneliness problems.

"I have had depression and I thank the people who shook my hand to get out of the well, because it is very bad, little by little it will come out," Ramona tells Jerónima.


We must start by restructuring the times and replacing the current social model based on productivity, with another one of accompaniment, explains the gerontologist Maite Pacheco to Efe.

"The whole society must act to take care of itself, the elders are a stage of that life; if I give value among my children or my grandchildren to the relationship I have with the elders, to those children and grandchildren who have been educated in that value will not cost them work to accompany the elderly when they are alone; it is a matter of deep social and cultural change "in which society itself must identify the values ​​that must preside over it," adds the expert.

For Pacheco, "the loneliness of the elderly is a matter to worry, but not to alarm" and, in his opinion, many times "the discourse that is being transmitted from loneliness has an alarm that hurts those older when they hear terrible things ".

Defend the need to reflect on these situations, but focusing the debate on "how society should organize the times, how to structure relationships with people or what gives priority and what not."

"There are a lot of actions to improve a society that should tend to become a society of retirees," adds the expert, in areas such as "school, transportation that helps people move, in the elevator that is shared with a person, from neighborhood movements or from voluntary action. "

Having a family does not save loneliness

Not all people who are alone experience loneliness and there are many people who feel alone being accompanied. It is also thought that pointing to the elderly to activities outside the home, solitude is solved, but it is not always the case, says the specialist.

"Normally when you talk about older people, you tend to organize many activities, doing and doing, but in a very high percentage it makes no sense, because although what is intended is to reduce that loneliness, you can feel even more alone."

For example, he says, "Bringing an older person to a very important football game if he is not interested, makes the elder feel fatal because he thinks they are taking care of me and I do not enjoy it, I am not worth anything." Coffe for everybody".

To make this loneliness visible, tomorrow, International Day of the Elderly, is launched in several Spanish cities - Madrid, Zaragoza, Segovia, Guadalajara and Vitoria - the "Plazas contra la Soledad", in which stories will be released of older people who have faced these situations.

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