“Who will visit you when you’re old and cold?”
Not a question you think of asking yourself when you’re young. Then you probably have lots of Facebook friends, but Facebook friendship can be fickle. It may not last a long cold winter.
Not a question you may have time for when you’re pre-occupied with a growing up family. Your focus is on them until they fly the next. Then they are a more distant family with growing up of their own to do. Not a question you have time to ask at work when you have lots of colleagues, and many become friends. At work old and cold is a far away prospect. But work is the tie that binds and when work is over the ties unravel.
In later life you no longer need to ask the question, experience will answer it for you.
The Office of National Statistics interestingly sheds some light on friendships and links it to well-being. People with more than 10 close friends were most likely to be content with life. People with between 2 and 10 friends also have high levels of satisfaction in life. Only two thirds of those with one friend had a high level of satisfaction. Unsurprisingly those with no friends were unhappiest, with 25% saying they were completely dissatisfied.
There is a strong relationship between lack of friends, loneliness and ill health. Loneliness and isolation increases with age as family moves away, as links with work colleagues disappear and in later life as bereavement robs you of lifetime friends.
Technology may help bridge the gap but can it visit you when you’re old and cold? Is this too bleak an outlook? Maybe Skype can at least provide a virtual bridge, but the connection has yet to be made for the majority of older people. I know it is not a substitute for close friends, but we need to become a nation of Skype Hot Spots!!
From that new friendships can be kindled 🙂