Broadcast on Radio BBC Devon Pause for Thought on the 3rd January 2018
As the world begins to go back to work and return to normal patterns of life there are some for which normal is loneliness. Age UK in Devon showed that 11% of older people who live alone have less than one contact a month. Loneliness and isolation can lead to poor mental and physical wellbeing.
The Campaign to End Loneliness suggests that almost a million older people say they feel lonelier at Christmas. The Campaign is seeking to inspire thousands of organisations and people to do more to tackle the health threat of loneliness in older age.
Loneliness can be easy overcome by kindness. Kindness is one of the most underrated virtues in today’s world. It isn’t bland or soft or feeble or weak. It isn’t about namby-pambyism or avoidance of conflict. Kindness comes when we dare to offer an opening to humanity and mercy, regardless of cost or reward. It is more than being nice and it can be very demanding in certain circumstances. Kindness can start conversations; kindness is calling by someone you haven’t seen for some time or providing an invitation for a meal, kindness can reduce loneliness.
Small things which make extra ordinary difference to the lives of other; Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said: ‘Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good when put together that overwhelm the world’