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

 

A Series Of Tubes: 150 Years Of The Cook Strait Cable

“It was a momentous achievement for its time. The successful connection came on the third attempt at laying the cable, and followed a near disaster when the first cable snapped - almost destroying the ship Weymouth in the process,” says Ms Adams. More>>

ALSO:

February 2017: Guns N' Roses - New Zealand Dates Announced

Founder Axl Rose and former members, Slash and Duff McKagan have regrouped for one of the century’s most anticipated tours... Rolling Stone said: "This was the real thing, the thing we'd all been waiting for: the triumphant return of one of the most important bands to cross rock music history. And it happened in our lifetime.” More>>

Werewolf: Brando, Peckinpah And Billy The Kid

Gordon Campbell: Initially, One-Eyed Jacks was supposed to have been directed by Stanley Kubrick from a script by Sam Peckinpah – yet it quickly became Brando’s baby... More>>

Book Awards: ANZAC Heroes Wins Margaret Mahy Book Of The Year

“Simply stunning, with gold-standard production values,” say the judges of the winner of this year’s Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award in the prestigious New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. ANZAC Heroes is also the winner of the Elsie Locke Award for the Best Book in the Non-Fiction category. More>>

Baby Animals: Hamilton Zoo Rhino Calf Named

Hamilton Zoo’s latest rhino calf has been named Samburu and he's being celebrated with a unique zoo experience... Samburu arrived after his mother Kito’s 16-month pregnancy and the calf brings the number of white rhinos at Hamilton Zoo to six. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Rio Olympics

Were you pretty excited earlier this week when Vietnam won its first ever Olympic gold medal? Hanoi, reportedly, went wild... Perhaps we should keep Vietnam’s golden moment in mind as we gear up for saturation media coverage of New Zealand’s medal achievements in Rio. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news