News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


School children find out about loneliness


Media Release: Age Concern New Zealand

27 February 2013

School children find out about loneliness and older people as part of Dignity Campaign

Last Friday Year 4 students from Murrays Bay School in Auckland had an in-depth Skype conversation with Age Concern New Zealand staff about loneliness and older people. The interaction came about as a result of Age Concern’s Dignity Campaign, launched in October last year with the aim of promoting positive attitudes towards older people. “They were quite challenging” said staff member Robbie Ross, “and had some great questions and ideas.”

The children wanted to know why some older people get lonely. Mr Ross explained that things like losing a partner, not being able to drive or walk far, and an inability to see or hear well can cause some older people to become very lonely and isolated.”

They also wanted to know what loneliness is. “There’s a lot of research on loneliness” said Mr Ross, “We told them that what it boils down to is this – loneliness is feeling sad because you would like to see more people, or you don’t feel close to the people who are around you.”

“Loneliness hurts” continued Mr Ross. “It feels like a heavy weight on your chest. It makes you anxious. It makes you sad. It makes it hard to sleep. It makes you feel that nobody cares about you or wants to be your friend. It can make you scared to meet new people, so you get even lonelier.”

The children went on to ask how many people die from loneliness. “We can’t be sure about that,” said Mr Ross, “but we told them that what we know for sure is that loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking, so if someone is lonely, it’s important to do something about it.”

Staff then talked to the class about the Age Concern Accredited Visiting Service, which has volunteers who visit older people who need more company. Each visitor spends regular time with an older person, talking with them, or sharing activities and outings.

Naturally, the children wanted to know if it works. “We told them, it does.” said Mr Ross. “Most of the people who have a visitor say they feel happier, and most think of their visitor as a friend. Because the visitor is there to make friends, it’s not scary even if the older person has become worried about meeting new people.”

The class then brainstormed ways in which they could make contact with older people in their lives, to help them not to feel, or become, lonely. Some of the more creative ideas included: skype chats, putting on a community play, taking them to a fitness class, baking, creating photo books, becoming a pen pal, or giving a present.

Mr Ross concluded, “We were very heartened by the interest from the class and their willingness to become more involved with the older people in their lives. We’re going to go back to them to see how many would like to become Dignity Champions, to support our Dignity Campaign. Dignity Champions pledge to treat older people with respect, challenge stereotypes and become relationship-builders. These children will make excellent champions.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Cricket: Dramatic Win Puts Black Caps In Finals

In Parliament: When Parliament resumed at 2pm the House passed a motion on a voice vote admiring the performance of the New Zealand cricket team in last night’s World Cup semi-final and wishing them well for the final on the weekend. More>>

ALSO:

Moon Shot/Kills Switch: The X Factor Judges Removed

MediaWorks has today decided that Natalia Kills and Willie Moon are no longer suitable to judge The X Factor and have removed them from the show. MediaWorks CEO, Mark Weldon, said that last night on The X Factor both Kills and Moon made comments that were completely unacceptable. More>>

ALSO:

Tessa Nichol: Up Up & Away In The Wairarapa

It’s an overcast morning in the Wairarapa but the mood on the ground in Carterton’s Carrington Park is anything but grey. More than 20 hot air balloons are getting ready to take off into the cloudy sky to mark the start of this year’s Wairarapa Balloon Festival. More>>

Golden Shears: Scotsman Wins Golden Shears Open Final

A Scottish shearer who settled in New Zealand to farm in Taranaki has become the first shearer from overseas to win the Golden Shears Open Shearing Championship. More>>

ALSO:

Shipped On A Bottle: Young Change-Makers Take To The Sea On Plastic Bottle Kayaks

With the aim of harnessing innovative design to construct kayaks solely from recycled materials, the “waste positive” project Plastic Bottle Kayak brings adventure into Kiwi classrooms. The call is out now for classrooms to send in messages and artwork to be inserted into the bottles. More>>

TV3 Video: Auckland Arts Festival Kicks Off

The Auckland Arts Festival kicks off March 4, with artists from New Zealand and all over the world on show. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news