Do you remember Gilbert O’Sullivan, who sang Alone Again, Naturally, years ago? The poor guy didn’t get his due; everybody thought the Beatles sang it.
I lived alone in those days and the song played endlessly in my head, I couldn't stop it. Well, I found myself humming it again today, so thank you Gilbert for inspiring this column.
Living alone in our younger years is pretty cool, we’re free to come and go as we please. We go out frequently, have friends over to our house and pay little attention to the clock. Also, having you small children is not the same as having a partner or someone to help or comfort. It defines the difference between loneliness and being alone...
Living alone in our golden years is a different story. There are challenges. There’s nobody around to nurse you if you're ill, nobody to call the paramedics if you hurt yourself. Idle conversation or companionship are out of the question. Then again, I know a self-sufficient elderly man who doesn’t own a table–he cooks his own meals and eats off a tray wherever he happens to land. Isolation hasn't diminished his thinking skills and ‘depression' is not in his vocabulary. He knows how to reduce the risks of living alone. But for many, implementing them may be easier said than done.
Ignore the misconception that accepting any kind of help will launch a slippery slope into dependence and you’ll lose control of your life, particularly if you are 60+. Get over it. Instead, evaluate what helps you stay independent. Take steps to enhance your ability to live alone. Recognize your strengths; be constantly aware of your weaknesses. When shortcomings require assistance seek it. Don’t procrastinate; ask for help. Think positive and start thinking early. Watch how elderly folks handle their lives–even though it may be a decade or two before you reach the golden era.
Today’s tip: Be truly independent–but prepared. Get rid of the kitchen table and buy a rocking chair.