• Few or No Friends

Home Alone & Lonely? Some Practical Tips

Published: February 24, 2012 | Last Updated: August 1, 2013 By | 79 Replies Continue Reading

What resources are there for people who are home alone and lonely, without any family or friends?

QUESTION

Dear Irene,

I am 63. My husband brought me here many years ago. It is rural and here, family is everything—which is nice—but I have none. My life from the beginning was similar to a child in an orphanage. I was cared for by someone I guess but never had any modeling for family. There was no love, no touching, no hugging and no intimacy.

I became my own parent by the time I was five years old. I could not, cannot develop relationships but worked all my life and working kept me from being totally isolated. However, now, I no longer work and have severe arthritis that pretty much limits me to my apartment. I read and find things to do but it is getting pretty hard.

The thing is that I cannot locate any type of support system for seniors who have no one. I know I am not the only person like this. I would love to return to Massachusetts where there is a little less emphasis on couples. It bothers me that, for example, an Area Agency on Aging, talks about all sorts of things but the depression, the loneliness, the sense of a life forgotten for people who don’t have the requisite husband, sister, grandchildren etc.

Why is this not dealt with? Or perhaps I am looking in the wrong places. One of my most hated answers to any psychological issue is “Stay close to your friends and family etc.” Another recent major annoyance is at a hospital or doctor’s office when they ask you for next of kin and I say I have none, they argue with me. Well you must have a friend then. No I do not. They actually get mad at me.

Is there a resource anywhere for those of us for whatever reason have no family and could not establish friendships but who are getting old and scared and spend weeks at a time alone.

Signed, Leah

ANSWER

Dear Leah,

For a variety of reasons, it sounds like you are in a very lonely and isolating situation. You must be a remarkably resilient woman to be able to take care of yourself to the extent you do.

Since I don’t know the particular community where you live, I can only make a few generic suggestions to help you connect with others:

1) Does your town or a larger city nearby have a program for seniors? Sometimes there are outreach programs that provide emotional and logistical support for homebound seniors.

2) Can you get any help from the Arthritis Foundation? Do they offer any in-person or online support groups?

3) Are any programs or services available from religious groups in your community—even if you aren’t of the same religion?

4) Can you call your state office overseeing the Area Agency on Aging to inquire about resources that may be available to you?

5) Can you reconnect, even if it’s only occasionally with colleagues from work or friends from where you lived in Massachusetts?

6) Since you found this blog, are you taking advantage of the internet as a way to connect with other people?

7) Is there any chance of your moving back to Massachusetts while you are still a relatively young senior?

8) Would you have any interest in finding out about a co-living situation where you might be able to live with another unrelated adult for mutual support? I realize this isn’t easy to
orchestrate and would require a thorough background check.

9) Since telecommuting is becoming increasingly common, is there any kind of part-time work you can do from home?

I hope that one or two of these ideas may be helpful and that other posters will chime in with any suggestions I’ve missed. Be assured, your situation is not unusual. There are many people in similar situations, many of whom visit this blog. I hope you’ll continue to post and exchange here because I know you can be helpful and sensitive to others in similar circumstances.

Warm regards, Irene


Some prior posts on The Friendship Blog that may be worth reading: 

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Category: HAVING NO FRIENDS

Comments (79)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Don’t give up. Everyone gets lonely. Things can improve.

    If there isn’t a group of like-minded people in your area (a group of people with your interests), maybe start a group. A book group, a writing group, a history group…. The possibilities are endless.

    And by the way, there is a church which accepts non-believers and never puts any pressure on them to be different – the Unitarian Universalist church. Even the preacher in a Unitarian church might be an atheist. It’s like a community group where people can explore ideas and enjoy each others’ company.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This post was so relevant to me. I am sick and tired of the two ‘F’s’ family and friends – when you have none of either you are a non-person.

    If there is one thing even more annoying that being advised call ‘friends’ when you have already said you don’t have any, it’s being advised to try a church of some type. When I say I can’t do that because I do not believe in the supernatural people just look blank and say go to church anyway – would those same people advise a muslim to go to a catholic church or a catholic to go to synagogue – of course not, but the non-religious believer is another invisible group, I am sick of never being acknowledged.

    Look at September 11th, the ‘services’ afterwards included every supernatural believing group you can imagine, the only totally ignored group were those who do not subscribe to worshiping a supernatural deity. People just don’t get it, by way of trying to get through to people what an offensive suggestion it is I have said ‘for me going to anything religious is the equivalent of advising me to join the nazi party’ of course they still don’t get it.

    If you have standards and principles there are things you cannot do. I like to think if I lived in 1930’s Germany I would not have joined the nazi party just to fit in, no matter what the cost to me, of course I may have been a coward and joined.

    If the only way I can speak to people is to pretend to worship some non-existent deity I would rather never speak to anyone again or cut my own throat. Churches are full of people who don’t believe in that stuff anymore than I do, but they lack the strength to go it alone and I can understand that but I am person of integrity so I cannot be one of them.

    I know that thing about next of kin – I was in hospital a few years ago, when I couldn’t give a ‘number to call in case of emergency’ they couldn’t get me out of there quick enough. I was still sick but they got some hospital worker to take me to my house and drop me off, no question as to how I would cope. Being alone in the medical system is a very bad place.

    Sometimes when filling in forms I would make up a name and number just to keep them happy – it would amuse me to imagine them calling the number to find it either didn’t work or went through to someone who had never heard of me.

    Sadly I don’t think there is much chance of improvement, I am 59 and lived alone for over 20 years, the thing about these well-meaning suggestion is most of us are intelligent enough to have thought of them, and tried the ones that are viable, ourselves. People offer them because telling the truth i.e. ‘there is probably not much you can do, that’s the way it is’ is to hard for them, rather like doctors don’t like telling people they have a serious, or terminal, illness and there is nothing to be done, people don’t like saying it and people don’t like hearing it.

    The reality is making friends, or finding a partner at this age (especially for woman) is unlikely.

    I have got quite good at living in isolation, I still hate it of course. Any day I get through with nothing really bad happening is another day gone. I have no desire to live much longer – that’s not a whine just a fact.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Lots of us including Leah seem to have arthritis. The warm weather helps in the summer up north, but then there’s the winter, which is not good for it, so what about Florida? Does anyone know? Lots of seniors there. Lots of support systems for seniors. I read condo prices have gone down considerably there. Affordable? Can anyone tell us about all this?

  4. Irene says:

    People often have pretty strong and deeply-ingrained opinions when it comes to religion and politics. So discussion of those topics invariably generates a great deal of controversy on a blog like this (and leads to a diversion from the topic of hand.) 

    Your recent post (https://www.thefriendshipblog.com/blog/home-alone-lonely-some-practical-tips#comment-95990 was simply beautiful—-I sure appreciated it and I’m sure Leah will too!! 

     

  5. Anonymous says:

    Do you live there? If so, can you tell us about it, how affordable it is, how easy to get around. Is it really better for arthritis, etc.? I’m curious. I’ve read about seniors there who can drive these little golf carts instead of cars. If that is affordable, that sounds pretty interesting. Anyone else here from Florida who can tell Leah and us the pros and cons? Thank you! From Cookie

  6. Anonymous says:

    What about moving somewhere warm and with lots of seniors around, if warm weather makes your arthritis feel better? Florida?

  7. Anonymous says:

    You sound sweet and I wish I were in Maine to visit with you, have coffee, talk, laugh, cry, commiserate, and try to figure some options. Some things you said are things I know about. Oh, I agree with you on how annoying it is to read about how everyone should “stay close to your family and friends” and gosh how I’ve hated facing that blank on a form that asks for an emergency contact / next of kin. I can’t pretend to have answers for you or anyone about how to break the isolation tank. But I keep thinking “baby steps” and by that I mean look for and take hold of the small interactions right under our nose. Like, right here. You have touched many people by writing in about your situation, and I really do feel the love and caring that people have for you. That says a lot about you, Leah. So come here and read this page devoted to you and read the suggestions, and know that you are not alone. Lots of us feel isolated and don’t know how to change things. I just hope you can take some small comfort in knowing you have touched people here, and tomorrow there could be some other opportunity coming your way. I’m the lady, by the way, who threw a hissy fit here a little while ago. My apologies to you, Leah. Take care and know that you have made a big step by writing here and reaching out.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Dear Irene, I am the “Anonymous” poster who just threw a hissy fit (“Stop trying to run the show.”). I am apologizing to you and to sweet Leah for the disruption. I stand by every statement I expressed to the woman who wants everyone to go to church, but I am sorry for the disruption our “debate” caused. I have said what I have to say and will shut the page on this topic with this church woman so that your blog commentary can resume peaceably.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Stop trying to run this discussion like you’re the chairman of the board. You’re not. You are one person who has repeatedly ignored any appeal to consider the feelings of people other than YOU about wanting to go to church. You had a great experience going to church. Goody! Wonderful! BUT YOUR EXPERIENCE IS NOT EVERYONE’S. You keep pulling bullying tactics out to silence statements that say NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO BE TOLD TO GO TO CHURCH. You had the audacity to charge people who disagree with you on this topic as having an “upper class prejudice.” Now you are trying to to bully again. You have a serious myopia, and your “just trying to help” comes across to me as hollow and insincere. Now, lady, this discussion has become uncomfortable for all and unhelpful. Stop pressuring people to go to a church just because it worked for you. And that will stop me from responding to you.

  10. Anonymous says:

    As we are seeing here, the liberal church pushers are just as bad as the evangelical church pushers . Neither can abide someone who just isn’t into it. Fascinating how annoyed and tenacious they get when someone says hey it’s not for me.They just can’t stand it. So weird.

  11. Anonymous says:

    It really is all about what options are available to this person. Her current position sounds untenable and like it isn’t going to improve. Saying stop criticizing what other people are suggesting and come up with something better or other or equally doable seems reasonable to me. I think she desperately needs options, so let’s give them to her, and let her select the best of what she finds possible. This church thing is just a hot button issue for some, including you apparently. So do you have any suggestions, or you just prefer to criticize the suggestions of others?

  12. Anonymous says:

    She didn’t mention herself interest in church. As discussed in this topic some people don’t view church as just another option. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea if they don’t believe in God. Not everyone is comfortable joining a church no matter how limited the options. This concept is obviously very difficult for the church proponents in this discussion to understand. Asking someone who dares say that church is not an easy or wanted option “so what do YOU suggest” is rather passive aggressive. Again, the woman in her post didn’t mention church at all. That makes me want to tread with sensitvity. But the gung-ho church goers in this discussion clearly have no clue how sensitive and difficult it is for some–I would say many–people. Just because it’s easy and meaningful for YOU doesn’t mean it is for others. That’s a good concept to embrace when making suggestions: It’s not always about what the advice givers would like. It’s what the advice seekers might or might not like. Sigh.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I think they’re just trying to help by making a suggestion they think might actually work. She does not have a whole lot of options. And I don’t think it’s just Christian church, but any organized religious organization, so synagogue also, that’s being suggested. Do you have a better reasonable suggestion for something that someone with few resources and little physical strength could manage? I saw somebody is suggesting pen pals tonight, too. That might work. She writes well and has a distinct pen personality. Maybe there’s a senior center around, but she’s out in the country apparently. There just aren’t a lot of options. If you have a doable option for a physically fragile and apparently partially disabled older woman to meet friends within the limitations of her resources, bring it on, please. How about if she rents out a room to someone she likes? This person can benefit from any and all help we can offer.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I can imagine it, but it would be really, really strange, and most uncomfortable. Still, the recommendations here are for the most liberal possible churches, and the specific one I saw was for the liberal wing of the Episcopalians. I’ve done these sorts of things, and they won’t even ask. I think if you can justify being there to yourself, it’s a reasonable thing to do. But I’m willing to consider an agnostic position. I’m not an out and out atheist.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Yes, each one’s personality will be different due to the region, culture, etc. Still, I cannot imagine attending a strict interpretation of the Bible, conservative, evangelical, church and telling the congregants you’re actually really a doubter but just wanted to be there for the fellowship. I would bet a million dollars they would not rest until they had convinced you to become a believer and dedicate yourself to Christ. Anyone who says no has not been treated to the full treatment like I and so many people have. Anyway…

  16. Anonymous says:

    I think each church has it’s own “personality”. For instance, you can go to 2 Baptist churches, or 2 Pentecostal churches, whatever, and they can be as different as night and day. One’s liberal and one’s conservative or they just fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Just like secular groups seem to all have their own “personality”, like with sororities, for instance.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Yes, you do see the older ladies in church. In movies and literature these church ladies abound. But I know personally plenty who would argue that “the church is a great place” for them. It really depends on the church. Surely we can all agree (but then again, maybe not) that not all churches, which are made up of people and personalities, after all, are alike.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I’m very much in the “don’t push church on people” camp. I’m equally in the “don’t throw cold water on church if someone wants to go” camp. I think the crux of the problem here is that when people find something that works for them in times of social isolation, and in this case it’s a Christian church, they just can’t stand it if others don’t do the same thing. They can’t accept that since it worked for them, it’ll work for you too. Same thing for non smokers who have given up cigs. New vegetarians. Whatever it is they have tried and liked. They won’t rest till you try it and like it too. It’s a personality thing more than a church thing.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I’d like to ask you and just you (please) what you meant by this:rather than defensive on them pushing their beliefs. Before I share my thoughts, I’d rather first hear from you what you meant. So I don’t misunderstand. Thank you.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Not sure you need to be so rude to someone who is going through something so sad. You made some good suggestions but you have no idea what type of arthritis she has or how debilitating it can be. Moving is not as easy as some people think. It is expensive and time consuming and she would need help packing, etc. Please be a little more compassionate to others, you never know what they are going thru unless u walk in their shoes. I am only 46 and am very lonely where I live. I am pleasant and well-rounded and nobody has come into my life in this town and I have been here for 10 years now. I have a husband who is a homebody and a child who has her own friends and activities. Not everyone can be just like u.

  21. Anonymous says:

    A little additional kindness and compassion, please. This advice may be well meant and actually makes many good points and phrased tactfully might be a pep talk, but the way it is couched is rude, which makes the good advice contained within it difficult to hear. With regard to the arthritis, it isn’t that simple. It can be very debilitating and very hard to overcome. It’s great that you are managing to do well with it. Some of us are not that lucky, regardless of how hard we try.

  22. Anonymous says:

    You run on the beach, you walk on water, you lay hands on people and they walk again! Hallelujah. Bully for you. So everyone else just has to pull up from their bootstraps and be just like you, right? Is that how it works? Holy moley.

  23. Anonymous says:

    How horribly rude. You don’t have any idea what this woman is going through, yet you say these outrageous things to her. Who are you to assess how painful her arthritis is, or what kind it is? Or to criticize how she describes how she ended up in Maine. Good golly, get some empathy and senstivity training, or else stay off blogs like these. I’m appalled.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I hope this won’t start an argument- but I “honestly” define church as a meeting place for anyone looking for something beyond things, interested in any aspect of spirituality, seeking moral guidance, or sanctuary, or who thinks humans are not necessarily the be all and end all of creation. That’s broad. One of the reasons I think church (or synagogue) would make sense in this situation is that many do outreach to parishioners, and that seems what’s needed here. This is a basically self-sufficient person who just needs a little community support, someone to take an interest now and then, say don’t worry, someone is here and cares. The church has always been a great place for older women who enjoy the feeling of a compassionate social support structure. That’s probably why they are such a major demographic in the churches. And the churches likewise appreciate their support and their willingness to help when they are now freer of the other obligations of life. Just a thought.

  25. Anonymous says:

    lot of debate on churches here. It’s such an emotive subject isn’t it?
    I think “the church” gets used quite a bit by people who want something, but don’t want the God part or whatever is found offensive.
    I strongly believe that if you approach a church, you should be honest about where you are rather than defensive on them pushing their beliefs.
    You sound like a sweet person and I think that if you can admit here online the truth of your loneliness, a group situation somewhere would embrace you. And yes, a carefully chosen church is a great place to start. Just be courteous and honest with where you’re at!
    Hoping you find friendship somewhere…

  26. Anonymous says:

    Sometimes a little uncomfortable, but what isn’t, and the nice parts of it won out. I tried a few churches. I walked in the door of one and they were so obviously dogmatic about what you believed. I was very uncomfortable and did not stay. Ditto another one. Then I went to a church well known for being liberal and they were very laid back. They never bothered us about our dogma. They were willing to accept people who sort of think there might be a deity, maybe, somewhere, of some form or who were exploring spirituality or who were willing to give it a chance. That was close enough for them and they were fine with it. One day the sermon was about so if you are sitting here thinking you’re the only one in here who doesn’t believe all this dogma, then think again. It’s like finding friends or anything else. You look around for one that fits and feels good. I went with my gut and heart. When I found one that felt good, I could feel it. Ditto the ones that didn’t.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been in a lot of small towns where, if you were desperately seeking friends, you didn’t have much choice but church, 4F, bars, or internet. If anybody believes in acting to others how you want them to act to you, then they are good people and welcome, at least in my heart, at any church I’d ever be in, and I think they will fit in fine in a liberal church, and I personally don’t care what else they believe. If you personally cannot in good conscience attend church, fine, but many could consider it. It can provide welcome warm shelter against chilling winds of loneliness, isolation, illness, and old age. This discussion is general rather than personal- about what some people feeling friendless or lonely can do to find friendship’s warmth, emotional/ social shelter, and safe haven in a cold modern world where social safety nets of extended family and old friends seem to have largely collapsed. I think the pro-church posters meant well and kindly and weren’t trying to convert anyone.

  28. Anonymous says:

    You sound passive. You say “my husband brought me here” as though you are some sort of package or object. You can get up and leave and do all sorts of things but quit the passivity.

    Sixty three isn’t very old and if you were so crippled by arthritis that you couldn’t fend for yourself you’d be tube fed in a hospital bed somewhere.

    Walk, do yoga, join a gym, do things for people who need help, read widely, learn a language, take classes, get a little job, move to a new place.

    I’ve got arthritis and I’m almost your age and I lift weights, run on the desert, move to new places, work, learn, read, meet new people. If you’re pleasant and well rounded, people will come into your life.

    The world is stuffed with people and things to do–Go!

  29. Anonymous says:

    This statement is very offensive: “There’s an upper class prejudice now, I think, against attending church unless you’re a devout Christian.” Once again, my point is this: If you are not a Christian to begin with, you are not going to want to start going to a Christian church. You talk about it in degrees, as if one is perhaps a Christian but has doubts, or is a Christian but not devout. I’m talking about people who are not Christians to begin with. Some people see it as an act of conscience to not go along with whatever the Romans are doing just being the Romans are in the majority, especially when it comes to serious matters such as those of faith, spirituality, and other belief systems.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Neither my aunt and uncle nor I are from the upper class. None of my family or friends are from the upper class. I don’t agree with you that not wanting to attend a Christian church when you don’t believe in the basic belief of Christianity is an upper class prejudice. I find that an outrageous comment, actualy. You mention people being in church who have doubts. That’s not the same thing as not having the basic belief in Christianity in the first place, which is my aunt and uncle’s situation. In my own experience growing up in this country and in some areas called the bible belt, in the 1950s and 60s, it was certainly the norm to attend to a church. But some families did not. Even back then, even in the bible belt. Some of my own family members and friends did not attend church because they basically didn’t believe in any religion. I think it is asking a LOT of someone to say they should attend a church when they do not believe at all in that church’s very foundation, that they’re in Rome so they should do as the Romans do. Yes, the church can be things other than worship; it can be the social things you mention. But it is at its foundation a belief system and if someone does not believe that you can’t ask them to just go because everyone else does. It sounds like you had a very positive experience and that it dovetailed with your own spiritual quest and beliefs (just going by your own description of someone whose faith is important to them). But your experience is not everyone’s.

  31. Anonymous says:

    What I don’t understand is how so many forgot so quickly the extent to which church was until recently the major social meeting place, where you saw your friends once a week, along with the Masons and the Grange. That world is still alive in some rural areas. People say they do not fit in in there, and I ask, do you go to church, and they say, I don’t believe. But you wouldn’t be the only one there observing a traditional cultural and social ritual where you see and greet friends and neighbors, observe who’s wearing what, work on social projects with friends, feed the hungry, and go sing carols at the old folks home. Often, when you sit there wondering if others have doubts, you think you are the only one there like that, but you aren’t. There’s an upper class prejudice now, I think, against attending church unless you’re a devout Christian. It wasn’t like that at all. It was quite social. Perhaps your aunt and uncle would be receptive to an old adage about social customs: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

  32. Anonymous says:

    Hello! I don’t know where THIS comment of mine will land on the page, so I won’t refer you to “below” or “above.” I have cut and pasted the comment that someone said and I thought it was you. It said this: “I must have communicated poorly. Apart from my sons, my faith is the most important part of my life.” It’s hard to tell who all is talking here, but it certainly seemed to me the person who shared their good experience joining that one church was the same person who had said “my faith is important to me.” Easy to assume it was the same person, no?My aunt & uncle would never tell anyone, much less people in a church they might attend, that “believing in a deity is bunk and stupid.”

  33. Anonymous says:

    No, I am not the same person who said that my faith is important to me and I was not of that persuasion to start with. Nevertheless, the compassion and the emphasis on grace and love and the evident goodness and welcoming hearts of most of the people there gave a lot of room to make me think about it all again. And as such, I’m sure I was welcome. God occasionally being referred to from the pulpit as He or She did not hurt either. However, I am spiritual and willing to consider and respect the views of others in these matters. If you are an out and out atheist and want to tell people in a congregation that believing in a deity is bunk and stupid of course you would not fit in. If you have absolutely no interest in spiritual matters you probably would find it annoying to listen to others who do, even if you might like the singing and appreciate some of the moralizing about behavior. But I’d say agnostics could cut it easily. It depends on how flexible you are. In my itty bitty town it was the only game in town.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like this church situation worked well for you & your family. But I am assuming you are a person of that persuasion anyway, faith wise, so it wasn’t a big stretch in the first place. (If you are the same person who wrote that your faith is very important to you, then, yes, I can see why your church turned out well for you.) I’m not sure this would work for people who are not interested in exploring spiritual and religious beliefs and who have to keep their nonbeliefs quiet and passive. I would hardly call my aunt and uncle, who are 80 and only now retiring, “aggressive vocal” atheists. But atheists they both are, and asking them to keep it quiet but join a Christian congregation is not something that would be appreciated. They are considering moving to Maine of all places, so I was interested in reading about people who live there. I don’t think Leah in her post mentioned a church as an option, either. Not everyone feels comfortable with the church option. If there are atheist readers of this blog who have joined a church other than Unitarian just for the social community aspect, I’d like to hear their experiences.

  35. Anonymous says:

    You are right. The Unitarian Church may not be there. When I went through the problem of finding a church in a new town, almost mandatory for a new family with children in a small rural town in the Bible Belt, someone suggested that our family visit the Episcopalian church. I was amazed at the extent to which they considered dogmatic beliefs to be personal and how flexible, compassionate, and open they were. That does not mean that it is a place for aggressive vocal atheists. But diversity in thought was acceptable, and if someone wanted a place just to explore beliefs, and was open to religious beliefs at all, this could work. It was very social and they welcomed us strangers, immediately “adopted” us, and kindly helped us integrate into the community.

  36. Anonymous says:

    When you say you must have communicated poorly, what posting are you referring to? I’m thoroughly confused you thought my response to Irene about attending church if you aren’t a believer was an answer to something you said here. If you can point me to what you wrote, I’d gladly read it as I am interested in all comments here. If anyone else has suggestions about whether to attend a church when you don’t adhere to the beliefs, I’d like to hear about it. Thank you in advance to everyone.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Hello: I wrote the “not sure about this” ditty. It was not in response to what you wrote. It was in response to Irene’s suggestion about non-believers being able to go to a church. I was not commenting on whether a person should or should not believe in god, the hereafter, etc. I was saying if a person does not believe in those things, then wouldn’t it be uncomfortable for them to attend a church (unless it’s a Unitarian church)? That’s all I was asking. I know everyone approaches faith or no faith in their own way, but attending a church (other than UA) when you don’t adhere to the basic tenets of that church would feel uncomfortable, woudn’t it? That’s all I’m asking.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I must have communicated poorly. Apart from my sons, my faith is the most important part of my life. It is my life here and hereafter. I receive Eucharist weekly, not obviously to meet people but to gain interior strength and it is given by grace. Just my thoughts I guess. I am a person who also believes everyone approaches faith or not in their own way.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Aren’t most churches by definition dogmatic? I mean, they have a dogma; it’s kind of strange thus to attend if you don’t believe in the dogma. Sure, there are churches that soft-pedal the dogma. But the belief structure is still there, isn’t it? No matter how open minded the congregation, it would feel alienating to attend a church if you don’t believe in the basic beliefs. I don’t mean the beliefs of being kind and loving and all; I mean the beliefs as to who is in charge and what happens after we croak. If you don’t believe for example Jesus Christ is the son of god and if you don’t believe everything happens for a reason, God’s plan, and if you don’t believe in heaven and hell or whatever euphemism for what happens after we croak, then wouldn’t you feel alienated and kind of deceitful attending a church. What happens if you join and meet people and become friends. Wouldn’t it be reasonable for them to expect that you believe in what they do, that JC is the son of God, etc., etc.? I would think those who don’t believe these things would feel anxious atending the church and knowing all along they don’t believe in those things. The Unitarian Church would thus be the best bet. The problem is I don’t know that UC has congregations everywhere, especially in rural areas and small towns.

  40. Irene says:

    Here is some generic information about HUD rental assistance programs in the U.S. Perhaps, the original poster has more to add.

    Best, Irene

  41. Irene says:

    Some churches have social activities that are pretty non-denominational—especially Unitarian churches. If a church is dogmatic, your point is well taken.

    Best, Irene 

  42. Irene says:

    Hi Leah,
    I recalled that I had received a letter from someone else in Maine who thought that it was an unfriendly place to be half-time! 🙂
    You might want to take a look at her post and my response:
    https://www.thefriendshipblog.com/blog/my-home-away-home-making-friends-maine
    Best,
    Irene

  43. Anonymous says:

    Good luck with your upcoming move to subsidized housing. Would you mind telling us how one goes about finding such housing? I am looking. Thank you.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Hey thank you. I have never blogged in my life nor am I savy about sites like this. You just gave me my first class. Thanks.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I laughed when I read your comment. I moved to Maine when I was 39 and even then I was set apart and alone as an outsider. How right you are. I am very much able to keep my solitary life active via reading, researching things I am intersted in. I adore history. As well, I am not afraid of change. Thus, I am moving into a subsidzed housing unit in Portland Maine in 4 months. subsidized housing is quite bleak. MOst people in there are also lonely, introverted, low income. I just became low income within the last 10 years. Went from $51,000 to $12,000. I am not at all materialistic so that was ok but the problem for myself and these other people I suspect is that they have absolutely NO discretionary income, not even for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. However, Portland is indeed a city, has a museum, is near to my beloved city of Boston and I can catch a train to Boston easily. I so enjoy feeling the familiarity of Boston or Western Mass under my feet when I can get there. I can no longer get to western Mass but I will be able to get to Boston and for very little money. So, that’s my move. Thank you so much for your comment and for understanding rural anywhere. You were spot on.

  46. Anonymous says:

    What if someone is not religious? Agnostics and atheists are lonely, too. What are they supposed to do? Wouldn’t someone who is not a “believer” feel even more isolated by attending church services and events?

  47. Anonymous says:

    In the early stages of my career, I lived in several very small towns – each set in rural counties. Everyone was a homegrown local, with entrenched ties to the community, extended family and long-standing friendships.
    Closed circles. Trying to break into that would require exceedingly appealing traits of extroversion, sparkling good health & vitality and a super-sized dose of self-confidence.
    Most of us are not like that! {Aging won’t help – these folks retire and are empty nesters and form lunch groups, bridge or book clubs and golf foursomes with their longtime pals. It’s cradle to grave.}
    If assisted living is too much care for your current needs – and too expensive – look for a mature-adult apt. complex. You will be surrounded by others and can make new acquaintances that will get you socializing. Friends take time to develop but you can ease into it.
    Good luck! Hope you can consider a move, to enjoy your retirement years surrounded with people and activity.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry you’re lonely. It’s the pits. Sometimes I think it is easier to make friends through the pen pal route, especially if you are semi-isolated off in the country somewhere with a limited number of people about to choose from. You could try posting an e-mail address on this site looking for friends, e-mail or otherwise. You can create a new e-mail address that isn’t your regular one so that you are anonymous on the web, then respond to whomever you want. You can stick an email address up here as a comment and also, somebody, that is Cookie, set up a new e-mail exchange here. You can find it by clicking on the Forum tab in the pink up at the top of the page, then click on Making New Friends, then click on e-mail exchange. It’s only about a week old but Cookie reported that she got a number of lovely people replying to her “ad”. Best wishes

  49. Anonymous says:

    A few ideas…

    I agree that a local religious community (unless they are super-doctrinaire, as some are, and therefore unwelcoming); I might start calling a few local pastors and explain your situation and ask them, candidly, if their parish is welcoming to newcomers. They may well know of outreach and volunteer programs, in their own group and elsewhere.

    How about meetup.com? Maybe there’s one nearby?

    A library-based book club?

    I’d call the nearest community college, college and universities and find a few students who’d like to come and spend some time with you, even an hour a week. If you can pay for their time, even $8-10 an hour, great. If not, I bet you could find a local student or two who might enjoy this.

    I’d also try local high schools. Many students are eager (however their motivation) to rack up community service and this might qualify.

    Loneliness is brutal.

    But — a word of well-meant caution — if you’re unused to intimacy, be nice! Be welcoming and appreciative of whatever efforts *are* made.

  50. Anonymous says:

    My mother-in-law found herself in a similar situation also with severe arthritis. She is 93 and family is far away. Seeing her one son for 2 hours per week did not matter. She was convinced by a geriatric social worker to leave her apartment and move into an assisted living facility. She is now happier than she has been for a long time. She has not made new friends but there are scheduled activities that she attends. They have made a huge difference to her.

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