Sunday, June 14, 2009

Friendship, Loneliness, and Senior Women Living Alone (Video: 1:04 min.)

Do senior women with family members who live nearby really need friends as much as senior women without family members living nearby? According to this research, they do. Reported in the “Journal of Gerontological Nursing,” a study by the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls examined the role of friends in predicting loneliness among women over age 65 who lived alone. Researchers hypothesized that those women who didn’t have family members living nearby would be lonelier than those who did. Well, that didn’t happen. It turns out that “close friends were important for women living alone, regardless of whether they had family living locally.” This information is noteworthy because it emphasizes the need for making social connections a priority in the lives of older women who live alone, regardless of their local family connections.

This video titled "Knitting Together" showcases a group of older women who socialize through weekly knitting sessions. A woman shares near the end, “I’m here to enjoy the company.”

Frances Shani Parker, Author
"Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes”
“Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog”


  1. So so glad I found your blog! I work as a volunteer coordinator for a Hospice in Flint MI, and I find your information to be a breath of fresh air. On my way to pick up a copy of your book! Can't wait to delve into it :)

  2. Thanks, Lynn. Knowing your hospice background in another urban Michigan city, I'd love to hear your feedback.


  3. AnonymousJuly 10, 2009

    My God, it's so sad to be lonely, to live alone and talk only to the e mail your kids - they dont answer- you call they callback a week later- you raised them for 22 years suddendly they dont know you anymore afer you gave them your all- this is so terribly sad, - Would be nice to associate (even via e mail)with a friend (female) - I am a 67 yr old senior looking for a pen pal, a friend to chat with or perhaps associate wih...pls contact me at

  4. Anonymous, I strongly urge you to contact a senior center near you and your local (state) Area Agency on Aging. Share your concerns with them. Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) are located in just about every state. They can be found by calling the National Eldercare Locater at 800-677-1116 or going online at

    Some of the services they provide are legal assistance, respite care, home health aide care, Meals on Wheels, transportation, and help with chores and repairs. Many of the services do not have an income requirement, so it’s best to check to see what’s available.

    Two helpful Internet resources for caregivers are AARP, which has extensive information, and the National Alliance for Caregiving, a non-profit coalition of national organizations focusing on issues of family caregiving.

    These agencies provide many benefits that can enhance your life, including information about where to find ongoing social and educational activities. There are also people who volunteer their time with seniors. Be cautious about searching for friendships on the Internet. I wish you the best.