Loneliness doesn’t just suddenly happen, it can slowly catch up with you. Often by talking and planning in advance, you can be prepared or at least be aware of what might be going on later in life. Sometimes your parents aren’t lonely and never will be – but the older they get the more they may see what’s happening to friends and neighbours and worry about it for themselves.
Loneliness can start on retirement. If your parent has been immersed in work, to the exclusion of outside interests, they are going to find retirement a big shock. The routine’s gone and now they may be struggling to find people with whom they share some common interests. Some people dream of moving away on retirement. Even if it’s a wonderful location uprooting from everything and everyone that’s familiar can be tougher than expected. They may find themselves increasingly isolated as they get older, receiving fewer visitors and ultimately having to give up the car.
Giving up driving is a difficult milestone for any parent, even if they agree its the right thing. They can lose their sense of independence and spontaneity of ‘just popping out’. It becomes a very difficult step for any proud person. They may feel their world has suddenly shrunken to those in the immediate vicinity.