In a variety of ways, it has been said that humans are wired for connection. We are wired to be social. We are driven by deep motivations to stay connected with friends and family. We are naturally curious about what is going on in the minds of other people.
But what if you are lonely?
There are a number of services you can call when feeling lonely, and have a chat with someone for a while. Calls to services may also be time constrained, limiting the time available to the person calling in, which may mean they are not able to discuss matters adequately. And these services are worthwhile and needed. At the same time, I also believe these services help by getting the caller over the speed-bump in the road of life.
At the end of the phone call, what sort of relationship has been formed? If the person calls the same service a second time will they get the same person or volunteer (and continue their conversation)? Has a friendship been created? When tomorrow comes, who will that person (that called the service) talk to? Will they have anyone new to talk to?
There are many cause of loneliness. Some of these include living alone, a change in living situation, a lack of close confidants, death of a loved one, poor physical or mental health or financial issues.
Today, people are living longer than they used to, and unlikely to want to go out at night. This puts older adults at an increased risk for loneliness and social isolation because of the reasons mentioned above.
One of the tools that could be used to help reduce loneliness and social isolation are programs or service that (i) foster the development of relationships and (ii) deal with the above mentioned issues.
Relationships provide a space where you can talk to someone else, whom you trust and can share your feelings with. Within these interactions each person can be heard, seen, known and valued. However, relationships are also about being and the experience of connecting with someone over an extended period of time.
Warm Pathways and Bris West Connect provide two (2) services to help in dealing with issues related to loneliness. Rather than just getting an individual over the speed-bump in life, these services are designed to help create and develop (hopefully) long lasting relationships.
The services are Evening Conversations and Mobile Connections.
The first service is Evening Conversations which is a virtual space where people can talk with other people about things that matter to them. Users are able to take part from their own home; they do not have to go out at night. It is hoped that friendships will develop from these conversations; someone you can talk to when facing difficulties in life.
The second service is Mobile Connections, teaching older Australians how to use mobile devices, since these devices have become the key for engagement and connection with others in the world. The purpose of this service is to teach users the functions required for connections – including chat, video calls, contacts etc.
Having connections with others help us to feel valued, cared about, and respected. It can also boost a persons self-esteem, feel safe, and strength to face difficulties in life. Being able to recognize the positive feelings that we experience with others, it is more likely we will turn to our friends, family, loved ones or coworkers, etc., for help when facing emotional challenges. Those whom we connect with can step in to support or help when needed.
Being able to connect to others when you’re struggling is a powerful and positive coping skill.
A connection between X and Y usually means one party can alter the state of the other party somehow, or deliver things quickly (such as information or supplies).
A relationship between X and Y simply means X and Y share some attributes, or possibly other things if X and Y are people. X and Y might have a relationship but not a connection (e.g. John and Mark are Americans, but they live in other sides of the country and have never met, they are not connected).
The word connection is used if you can draw a line between two things. This scheme is often visually used to represent a relationship and hence sometimes connection is used synonymously with relationship.