Friday, May 21, 2010
Aging in Isolation
I recently journeyed to Co. Clare, Ireland with Justin Weiler and John Murillo to explore the effects of aging in isolation and how the community is combating this problem. Kathleen Ryan was one of the older people we interviewed. She has lived alone in a small house for two and a half years since her husband went to live in a nursing home. He past away a few months ago and now it is just her.
Some of the biggest challenges she faces revolve around getting food and social stimulation. The local Family Resource Center that helps her get groceries and attend weekly social functions of tea and learning opportunities is facing budget cuts and may soon not be able to help her with these things. Without them it will cost her 35 Euro ($50) to get a taxi to do just about anything as there are no buses where she lives.
Kathleen was one of many older people facing this isolation in Co. Clare and all over the world. Discarding the stories and wisdom of the older generations is not unique to any one place and is one of the biggest cultural mistakes of our day.