• Keeping Friends

Housebound, lonely, and craving contact

Published: December 28, 2010 | Last Updated: November 23, 2013 By | 21 Replies Continue Reading

QUESTION

Dear Irene,

I’m 63, and housebound due to health and mobility problems. My family works so they can’t come every day. I find myself sitting alone in the house day after day and would love to have someone visit, and sit and talk to me. I’ve even thought of taking someone in to live here free of charge just for company but I’m a bit frightened of having a stranger move in. I sometimes need to use oxygen and because I’m alone, I panic when I’m breathing badly.

Signed, Lonely

ANSWER

Dear Lonely,

It sounds like you are having a difficult time. Given your health problems, there should be social services available in your community to assist you. The first thing any agency would probably do is conduct an assessment to see how they can help.

If you qualify based on your medical condition, you may be able to receive services in your home on a regular basis. For example, this might include a visiting nurse to check your vital signs and make sure your oxygen intake is adequate, a social worker to talk to you and help you adjust to your situation, and a daily delivery of meals on wheels—not only for good nutrition but to provide an opportunity for you to have contact with someone each day.

One way to start the ball rolling is to contact the city or county agency responsible for social services where you live. (It’s usually called a Department of Social Services). You can use the Eldercare Locator to find this and other help in your community. (They also have a toll-free number, 1-800-677-1116). If you can’t handle this independently, you might ask someone in your family to help.

Finally, if you are comfortable contacting a religious group or volunteer organization in your neighborhood, they may be able to set up some regular type of visiting program for you. There are many people your age, older, and younger who would love the opportunity to volunteer and provide companionship to others.

While it may be tempting to take in a boarder, you have to be very careful about allowing someone you don’t know into your home. If you do require live-in help, perhaps the social service agency that does the assessment can make some recommendations to you.

It’s terrific that you are on the internet. While it can’t substitute for human companionship, it is probably a great source of information and stimulation for you. I also hope you make use of the telephone to call family and friends. Finally, one other thought, do you have any pets? Animals help many people feel less lonely.

I hope a few of these ideas are useful. My warmest regards and best wishes to you,

Irene

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Category: KEEPING FRIENDS

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  1. Friendship and chronic illness - The Friendship Blog : The Friendship Blog | November 23, 2013
  1. maria hoy says:

    can anyone help am 53 and housebound because of illness and apart from being in hospital i don’t leave me flat,am into horror movies and books,and heavy metal music all am looking for is someone with the same interest as me.I on my own all day for months on end and have not left the flat for four years,so if anyone can help please let me know.

    [Last name deleted by moderator. To protect yourself against spammers, please don’t use last names on this blog! Thanks. Irene]

  2. Florence says:

    Yes, having animals to take care of, who depends on you is a great way to kill loneliness. You will feel you are living for someone else, someone who depends on you, need you and can’t live without your love and care. If you have a small dog, you can take it for walks (it forces you to go out and not walking alone). On such walks you will have people coming up to you to talk to you about your dog. Your dog will be a good ice-breaker. A cat is also a good pet. If you want to, you can still take it out on walks on a leash or covered pram πŸ˜› make sure it doesn’t run off. Although when your pet gets sick you need to take it to the vet, medicate it and when it dies, it’s heartbreaking too. Do consider all these when having a pet.

  3. Florence says:

    Hi, for those who are housebound, I suggest joining Facebook and playing games such as PetSociety etc. You can make friends and have a good and real connection with some who will want to get to know you better. For those who can go out, try making friends with people such as store-owners whom you like, service people and neighbors. “It’s not important to have many friends, it’s more important not to have enemies.” Having just one good friend is better than having many “friends” who are not truly there for you.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I just saw your post. I am 54 and housebound in rural Georgia. My email is [email protected] if you want to write.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I live about 50 miles West of Houston, so unless you like driving out to the country, I guess our lives will only have touched briefly by this brief exchange.
    Unless it’s a matter of life or death, I don’t drive back to the city. In fact, just getting on the freeway seems like a serious risk to life and limb. I sometimes refer to myself as “a refugee from Houston”. I lived there for 40 years before I learned better. πŸ™‚
    I live alone way out in the country with my two dogs (Shelties) and my oldest daughter lives close by in her own home with her significant other. But I’m always always eager to investigate new friendships, wherever they may be. One can never have too many good friends. And love, companionship, and good friends are not luxuries, they are necessities for a happy life. Spiritual, rather than committed to any formal, traditional religion. I’m in good health, financially stable and moderately active.
    Two deaths of close relatives recently have made it a bit of a bumpy ride but, I’ve learned that Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain…with or without a bathing suit. I’m excited to get a “sneak peak” into the surprising future that awaits me.
    Tell me more about yourself. I will be waiting to read back from you.
    Patricia Doran
    [email protected]

  6. Anonymous says:

    I live about 50 miles West of Houston, so unless you like driving out to the country, I guess our lives will only have touched briefly by this brief exchange.
    Unless it’s a matter of life or death, I don’t drive back to the city. In fact, just getting on the freeway seems like a serious risk to life and limb. I sometimes refer to myself as “a refugee from Houston”. I lived there for 40 years before I learned better. πŸ™‚
    I live alone way out in the country with my two dogs (Shelties) and my oldest daughter lives close by in her own home with her significant other. But I’m always always eager to investigate new friendships, wherever they may be. One can never have too many good friends. And love, companionship, and good friends are not luxuries, they are necessities for a happy life. Spiritual, rather than committed to any formal, traditional religion. I’m in good health, financially stable and moderately active.
    Two deaths of close relatives recently have made it a bit of a bumpy ride but, I’ve learned that Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain…with or without a bathing suit. I’m excited to get a “sneak peak” into the surprising future that awaits me.
    Tell me more about yourself. I will be waiting to read back from you.
    Patricia Doran
    [email protected]

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’m 73, a widow, lives alone with two Shelties. I’m so depresseg thsd morning I don’t hardy know what to say.
    I live about 50 miles West of Houston, so unless you like driving out to the country, I guess our lives will only have touched briefly by this brief exchange.
    Unless it’s a matter of life or death, I don’t drive back to the city. In fact, just getting on the freeway seems like a serious risk to life and limb. I sometimes refer to myself as “a refugee from Houston”. I lived there for 40 years before I learned better. πŸ™‚
    I live alone way out in the country with my two dogs (Shelties) and my oldest daughter lives close by in her own home with her significant other. But I’m always always eager to investigate new friendships, wherever they may be. One can never have too many good friends. And love, companionship, and good friends are not luxuries, they are necessities for a happy life. Spiritual, rather than committed to any formal, traditional religion. I’m in good health, financially stable and moderately active.
    Two deaths of close relatives recently have made it a bit of a bumpy ride but, I’ve learned that Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain…with or without a bathing suit. I’m excited to get a “sneak peak” into the surprising future that awaits me.
    Tell me more about yourself. I will be waiting to read back from you.
    Patricia Doran
    [email protected]

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hi I am 66 who worked as a radiographer and at41 had a severe back injury that need three major surgeries. Five months later my husband, who was ten years older had an angioplasty, Non smoker,not over weight normal cholesterol and atrocious famiY history. He was GM of a company so reduce the stress and retire at 51! I had an ins plan so financially we were taken care of as long as we were careful
    WE still ran an open house, friends of children always in and out, eating here as often as not. I then had a car accident that knocked me flywase for a few years. after several years some friends found it difficult. Our “frailties” frightened them and they distance from you. Very hard to accept but I shook myself down and returned to college to do textiles. I won’t bore you but did achieve well in exhibiting and teaching throughout Europe and New Zealand.
    five years ago had a bowel resection and GBladder removed,well
    afterwards but finally develed anirritable bowel. Got over that and was “flying” for a year until a guy in a big heavy car rearended me last August. Whiplash,with two discs out and both shoulders requiring rotatorcuff repair. Iv had first shoulder done eight wks ago. Coming along
    NOW at last I get to my reasons. I am a typical Atype personality, an achiever, not the most popular type! I have had lots of friends but with each illness trying to keep up was difficult and the nature of people is they don’t mean to forget you but theyDO. Don’t blame them, no matter how good a front you put up. If we could only ask for help it MIGHT be easier.
    I have a studio where I dye all my own fabrics and design my own contempoary pieces. I had loads of contacts within the art world and taught classes there. That has stopped for the last year and I am honestly wondering where can I find the energy though all these physical ailments to source new friends. Early in our marriage we had a tough time having children. One successful birth from eight pregnancies, so we adopted a gorgeous girl and have two grandsons. I have always been a giver and it took me a long time to understand that not everyone can be. But it is really hard to spend day after day alone recovering from surgery. I suppose it can only get better. I am writing from Ireland and delighted “if sorry” to hear others experiencing loneliness for whatever reasons. Keep going ladies, we only get one chance, I am blessed with a happy marriage but being ten yrs older is slowing up. Might be just as well,don’t think guy my own age could have coped. Love him Ann

  9. Anonymous says:

    Interesting comments …..

    Darn it … life is what we make it ……

  10. Anonymous says:

    You may feel alone but you are not. There are 1000’s of us out here silently sitting in chronic pain. It is one of those things that no one can understand unless it happens to them. They may say they understand to try and comfort you but you and I know they don’t. I have only been housebound for about 4 years but it has been enough to lose site of all the wonderful memories I had of living a full, happy, healthy life. My wife works full time and I have 1 daughter left at home who graduates High School this May. Then she is headed off to college. As it is now I spend 8 hours a day 5 days a week alone. Somedays I can barely walk or stand, other days I am able to do some light house work or gardening and still on other days I can only make it to the couch and bathroom. I am on a lot of medication but nothing eliminates the pain and I have suffered over 3 dozen falls in the last 3 years. I have fallen and knocked myself out ending up in the hospital for a week. I am trying to find things I can do to fill my days, it is very difficult. The hardest part is the lack of motivation. I have big plans and even make a list for what I hope to get done tomorrow. As soon as I wake, usually 2-4 a.m., my plans mean little and I struggle to shower, shave and dress. My wife keeps pushing me and I’m glad she does. She’s rarely successful but each time she gets me to do something it’s one more thing than I would have done on my own. I’m just starting to look on the internet for some friends, ones that are in similar situations. Maybe I can find a friend in my area, Mt. Pleasant South Carolina, who would welcome someone to spend time with. Please don’t give up and keep finding ways to give meaning to your life, no matter how limited you feel it has become. Jimi

    • Cindi says:

      Well I’m not sure where to even start, I also live in pain on a daily , hourly and a lot of mins. To minute . I live in a beautiful area called Clifton Forge, Virginia Been married to the same man for well over 30 years have a handsome son who has had 2 Beautiful girls and I’m lucky if I see them two times in a year. Have a daughter who lives upstairs and only see he when she comes down to get a drink or something to eat, very seldom speaks a word. ( so much Like Her Father )
      My Husban is 20 years older then me. Also he is not in good health. Yea I do think about wanting to due, I’ll Amit I Beg and ask God Every night, because I just can’t take the chance of Never seeing my mother, Father my baby sister and my big sister or my two older brothers and many friends that have gone . They are the Only thing that is keeping me on this Lonely earth.
      I’m tired, I’m weak and so Very. ready to leave this world, But I must, wait ( till god says it time.
      As you can tell I’m not to bright as far as weighting. I just want him to call my name to come home.
      God Bless us All !!!!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hi; I am a 63 year old who found Irene’s Blog when I read a story of a man found dead after 4 years. I was appalled and yet,it could happen to me really. I have no family contact but for 2 amazing sons. Thing is, they are so amazing that one lives in Germany and one in DC. I get plane tickets sent to me once a year and they call me as well but I have no friends left in Maine. I have been here 18 years, had friends at the college I worked in but they have all retired to warmer spots. As well, my income dropped from $51,000 a yr to $12,000. Of course my sons would help but I refuse to allow them to. I tell them(with a big smile) that I will not take anything from them but that plane ticket until I am 70. At any rate, I live among people who find me odd I guess. I don’t watch TV much, I despise gossip. I love to read and research interests .In order to have human beings around me I go to the reading room at the library. I used to adore gardening but I lost my home and am now in subsidzed senior housing..bleak but I am lucky to have it. I do try to garden in the house however. I am losing my lucky bamboo. Trying to re-root it with no success. I lost my beioved dog and cat. 5 and 1 year ago respectively. I am thinking about a kitten but not sure I can afford it. I am a woman of faith and haved tried churches in Maine but find them very unfriendly. That does not mean I don’t go because I do for prayer and Eucharist which really is the best reason anyway So, that’s it. I do all right. I amuse myself but I am alone..very much alone and other than phone calls from my son or perhaps a chat with my pharmacist, I don’t have any human contact. I don’t think this is healthy. would you like to share a little bit about yourself? Oh one last thing. I researched the “alone, no family or friends thing” with area agencies for Seniors in Maine. Without exception, although their so called mission was to improve the lives of seniors, none of them would even address the concept of aloneness. It does make one feel odd.It’s like on top of the pain of being alone, there is a stigma attached to it that makes one feel even worse. These agencies will do everything and anything for seniors regarding food, money, shelter,health issues etc but they will not touch lonliness with a ten foot pole. I found this very distressing since it is a major problem in this country and not just among seniors. Best regards. Marguerite Donovan

  12. Anonymous says:

    I too am lonely and homebound due to chronic pain after contracting cancer in 1999 I was 36 at the time and I just turned 49. I worked since I was 15yrs old and I have been out of work 8yrs now and am severly depressed. My entire life I was a very active person who enjoyed working out, rollerblading going for bike rides walking etc. I use to have alot of friends and was very popular. Now I don’t even have a reason to get up. There is no reason to keep living. For what to continue and suffer in pain and sit home alone all day. I hate being alone I have always been a people person. People seem to give up on you when your in pain I seem to hold them back since I am unable to do alot of things there is no such thing as having friends when your in chronic pain I lost all my friends they went onwards to live life. I got screwed in life… I guess gods plan is for me to suffer, well suffering I am I hope he is happy

  13. Anonymous says:

    im 64 and housebound,, been looking for someone to talk to online for ages.if you want can contact me

    • Florence says:

      Hi, I am 57 yrs old, living in Malaysia. I graduated from Canada and do not have any close friends where I stay except for a few in other parts of the country or overseas; communicating very rarely. I am beginning to feel lonely even though I am married and can foresee myself being truly lonely if my husband precedes me in death. He is 11 yrs my senior. I do not have any biological children but have 2 step-children and 2 step-grandchildren whom I’m not so close to. If any of you need someone to chat with via email or Facebook I would love to be your friend and have regular chats with you. I am retired and mostly spend my time at home on my computer or watching TV. I have an aging cat who needs medication. She can leave me anytime.

  14. Anonymous says:

    im same as lonely, been housebound for almost 4 years before that going out was limited. ive ulcerated legs and arthritis ,and some other health problems,i miss having some one here to talk to and for company as well.even consideredctaking some one in just for company ,but same as lonely was worried at having stranger here.i also have panic attacks when breathing bad and use oxygenwould be lovely now and again having someone to chat with. i read a lot,do jigsaws,knit,and make cards,but still crave human company.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hi! I’m a senior, age 74, who would like to form online friendships with others who can use their computer for social contact and share whatever is on their minds. I am not housebound, but I do have type 2 diabetes and had open heart surgery 10 years ago. Doing fine now. I just thought I could brighten someone else’s life by e-mailing others who are looking for someone to talk to on the computer. Thanks. Darlene

  16. Linda says:

    Hello Lonely,
    I too am homebound due to disablility, 62, and never imagined this would be my lifestyle at this time of my life.. Luckily, I am an avid reader and fill many hours reading, watching movies and using the internet, but sometimes loneliness for old friends becomes overwhelming. I would be happy to carry on an online conversation with you if that might help. Please feel free to contact me and maybe we can share info, passions, history, or anything to get us through the days………..Linda

  17. stephanie rock says:

    I know we all experience our frustrations and circumstances in different ways. I had a spell of what I thought was “fanting” two years ago until someone passed on what they witnessed as “convulsions”. No one knows what spurred this to happen, but after a long battle in the public health system, 6 months ago I was diagnosed as Epileptic. For me, yes there is a battle of “social seclusion”, but more so it is difficult to know what my mind is capable of and my body is not. I am 24 now, and I was working full time in a health care role. I worked overseas in international aid for a while and thought that would be my life. For me “lonely”, I think that all you can do is find a way to communicate from home. The internet is for me a wonderful creation. I am trying to set up an online support network for those who are housebound and am working on creating a community grant scheme. Support lines have helped me in times of deep depression as I cannot get to a counsellor for support. When life gets like this, all I can suggest is to find a creative way of doing something that counts. Otherwise you get lost in your sitiuation. You feel useless, you feel trapped and silent…But you can still with technology reach out to the world…Best wishes….Steph.

  18. Lovette says:

    Since your kids are all grown ‘N they all works Maybe U can reach out to others around your age. they too could be just as lonely, so somebody needs to make the first move. if you can use the computer maybe you can try Commiuncating by E-Mail Meet New friends that way. My computer is Entertaining to Me. Advice I agree With Irene Don’t move strangers into your home Because you just can’t trust peoples these wicked, Evil Days. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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