Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the old man, “I do that too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
“I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
“But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
I know what you mean,” said the little old man.
– By Shel Silverstein, American poet
As an individual reaches the twilight of their life, time slows down. The retirement party is over. The guests have left. And suddenly, they feel like there is nowhere to go or nothing to do anymore. Days and weeks stretch endlessly ahead of them, as they feel a devastating lack of purpose. Their health deteriorates, so does their energy. And once the children have left the nest, the elderly are often left alone to grapple with a series of physical and psychological health issues.
They say the golden years of one’s life begin after retirement. But for many, all it brings is a crippling sense of loneliness. Soulveda delves into the psychology of the elderly during this testing period and explores ways in which they can regain control over their life.
According to an American study, it is common for old people to feel lonely and depressed. Irrespective of whether or not they are living by themselves, senior citizens are known to experience varying levels of despair and helplessness. Explains Dr Soumya Hegde, a consultant geriatric psychologist, “This sense of loneliness sets in quite early and it happens at multiple levels. It starts with one’s children leaving home for studies or work, then comes one’s retirement. Later, it may worsen with the passing of one’s spouse, peers or friends.”
“Socialising doesn’t come so easily to many senior citizens who tend to be set in their ways. While they may long for company when alone, they may not always enjoy themselves when they are in a gathering.”
“While the elderly make the effort to take charge of their lives, it might be really helpful if their children offered them some support and affection.”