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

 

Scoop Review Of Books: No Longer An Island

Simon Nathan reviews 'Zealandia: Our Continent Revealed': The idea that New Zealand is part of a large submerged continent is not new... There was renewed interest in the extent of offshore New Zealand from the 1970s onwards with the start of offshore drilling for oil and gas, and this was given impetus by a UN agreement which allowed countries to claim an Extended Continental Shelf (ECS). More>>

Art: Simon Denny Recreates Kim Dotcom’s Personal Effects

Who owns what? How has the internet changed our relation to the world? These are two of the many questions Simon Denny raises in the latest exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery, opening on Saturday 4 October. More>>

Theatre: The F Word: Sex Without The 'ism'

Sex without the 'ism' Okay, so the sexes are equal in the eyes of the law. What the F happens now? More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Don’t Eat The Fish

On 'The Catch' by Michael Field What the ecologically edible lists don’t appear to take into account – and they should – is slavery... It’s not an easy read, but it’s definitely near the top of my listicle of “5 Political Books You Must Read This Year”. More>>

ALSO:

Caracals: Small Cats With Big Ears Arrive At Wellington Zoo

Visitors to Wellington Zoo will be able to see New Zealand’s first Caracals in the Zoo’s new Grassland Cats habitat, with a special visitor opening day on Saturday 27 September. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Classics - Tales From Moominvalley
Can’t speak for the reading end of it but the Moomins ( or maybe the story about Margaret Wise Brown) were the most enjoyable subject to think about and write about during these whole first 50 issues of Werewolf. For that reason – and because the Moomins always reward re-reading – I’ve decided to reprint it. The only added element is a link to an interesting hour long documentary about Tove Jansson. More>>

ALSO:

Repping In The Pacific: All Blacks And Manu Samoa To Play Historic Apia Test

The All Blacks will play Manu Samoa in Apia on Wednesday 8 July next year as part of both teams’ preparations for Rugby World Cup 2015. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news