I read in a British newspaper this week a story about the elderly in England – skipping meals because they didn’t want to eat alone.
This, the newspaper said, was part of a loneliness epidemic among Britain’s elderly.
One in five over 70s ate all their daily meals alone each week, I don’t think this epidemic of loneliness is confined to the UK – nor is it confined to the elderly.
The 2016 National Census found that 31% of older Australian women and 18% of older men live alone. For the very old, over 85 yrs, this rises to 41% for women and 31% for men.
Community is not valued these days as we place so much stress on the individual.
In the Bible, King David prays to God:
‘Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish.’ Psalms 25:16-17 (NIV 1984).
Those maybe your thoughts, and it may be time that you turned to prayer, like David did.
I’m Russell Powell for the NSW Council of Churches
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