Wednesday 7 December 2016

Mary Kenny... reach out to your elders

The social media age can be a lonely one for older people

Published 27/09/2015 | 02:30

Mary Kenny
Mary Kenny

I was sitting in a departure lounge at Dublin Airport recently, awaiting a boarding call, when it occurred to me that everyone - yes, everyone - around me was glued to a mobile phone. Some may have been reading or watching Netflix, but most seemed to be texting. Who, I wonder, were these people messaging all the time? They must have thousands of friends.

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I sat with my newspaper crossword reflecting that, really, there was nobody to whom I could send a text, just saying hello. Yes, I'm fortunate to have a family, but you can't be pestering your family all the time. I have good friends, too, but I wouldn't want to bother them with trivialities. What am I going to message: "Hello - I'm at the airport"?

This, I thought, is what it probably feels like to be lonely. Perhaps even lonely and old. Everyone else's life seems to be buzzing in a continuing social whirl, while you sit there wondering if you lack some key ingredient: who needs you, anyway?

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