Keep in touch with the lonely

2016-11-17 06:00

THE festive season is all about family and friends coming together, but sadly this is not the case for everyone.

Hundreds of people on the South Coast will spend the festive season alone and enter a new year of solitude.

The Fever received some letters from readers seeking a companion. The letters all had one thing in common - these people just want someone to talk to.

Dr Cathrin Venter, a clinical psychologist in Port Shepstone said loneliness in general is a very complex issue and much more than being alone or isolated. “Loneliness has a very strong psychological component and also includes our perception about our situation or our view of ourselves in context with other people. Therefore it is not uncommon for people to feel at their loneliest surrounded by other people,” she said.

Dealing with loneliness implies that action is needed, not only from the people and community around the lonely person but also from the person themself.

“People who are lonely seem to feel so trapped in their situation that it becomes a passive state of being. The two symptoms of depression, helplessness and hopelessness are strongly associated with loneliness,” said Venter.

“It is very important for the person to feel a sense of belonging, to feel that they are still needed or that they can still contribute something valuable. Therefore losing a sense of purpose is often associated with loneliness,” she added.

Venter said the elderly often struggle with loneliness and that it is important for family make sure that their elderly is looked after physically and that they get the necessary treatment they need in order for them to not feel excluded and lonely.

“The elderly should also keep up with technology, so that they can stay in contact with family who live from them,” she said.

Research have also shown that elderly people who are not visited at least twice a month by family is more likely to feel lonely.

“Family can take turns to visit the elderly in their family.”

“Asking the elderly to do small tasks for example looking after a pet, or watering plants, when you are away, has the potential to make them feel that they are still needed and purposeful.”

Loneliness can range from a slight feeling of emptiness to a severe feeling of desolation.

Tips to keep busy:

• Reach out to family that is far away.

• Become part of a religious group.

• Take up a hobby or becoming part of a reading club.

• Volunteer at a place where help is needed for example the SPCA, or a soup kitchen or at an old-age home or a Hospice. This can give back a sense of purpose or a feeling that a person is still needed.


Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.