Seniors: Homesickness and Loneliness

May 4th, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Two of the illnesses that strike the elderly are homesickness and loneliness.  Senior citizens often choose to sustain two home bases.  Those seniors who live in the midwest, where winters can be so severe, often scout out and locate a second home in a more hospitable winter climate.  They may own a second home, lease, or connect by means of having a motor home.  For those who are based in second homes, such an arrangement can contribute to homesickness and loneliness.  Having two homes usually means having a personality that can easily adjust to living in and enjoying two environments.  Some folk do this readily.  Others find it a challenge.

For me and my house, I find the occasional temptation to be “back home,”  wherever and however I identify that.  We enjoy a large home in one place and a rental condo in another.  The former, however, is really home.  The secondary location is a get away.  For persons whose tendency to quickly assimilate in the secondary location, this is no real challenge.  For those who enjoy nesting somewhat more, it may become so.  For me, as I grow older, I find my need for companionship not so great, but my need for a sense of permanence an appealing  draw that grows out of a sense of anchoring.  While our permanent residence is in no way a place where I cultivate and share many social and interactive relationships, it is just that:  home.

The mystique of home is that it holds a magnetism and a sentiment not found elsewhere.  Its envirions offer a certain warmth and comfort, an embrace and assurance not found elsewhere.  While the time may come when having to surrender the physical advantages of home becomes necessary and prudent, home still holds its mystique and offers its own strange solidarity.

Many find that loneliness is not the absence of persons, but it is the disappearance of the familiar.  Certain natural phenomenon remain attractive and appealing.  Often it is just the setting, the investment of time and energy and caring for the landscape that makes its own subtle difference.

Homesickness comes about when missing those natural qualities creates a sense that home can be recaptured just by being there, at least for a time.  Home is that place, after all, where time and pleasure and memory often collide.  The collision offers nothing severe, just the occasion in which all that makes home home comes together in a welcome that happens only  in that place.

So, if your living style is caught on the horns of the dilemma I describe, perhaps you need to develop a formula, as I do, which gives you the satisfaction and pleasure you seek.  These two illnesses, if they can be called that, can be cured.  Unlike some others, we who experience them may need to be about offering ourselves the moments of joy that come with quelling both and allowing ourselves to be singly and especially happy in our return home and our silent comfort in just being alone.



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