I bring a broad brush look at the power friendships have in protecting older adults against loneliness. This is a sociological problem which we can help.
Michael Monsour's book, Women and Men as Friends: Relationships Across the Life Span in the 21st Century.(2002) , helped me realize we need to change the vision we have for older adults . I will address 3 questions with the final one being how we as mental health specialist need to take the lead.
A. There is a need to respond to the population changes
B. There is a need to reconfigure Developmental Stage for older adults
2. What am I talking about?
A. Friendship and its benefits
B. Relationship of Friendship to Loneliness in the Older Adult Stage
3. How can we use our creative generativity?
A. Recognize and convey the changes needed in viewing relationships for older adults
B. Acknowledge that we thrive by acting creatively during the longest stage in our lives.
C. Clarify the benefits of friendship by understanding the limits in family benefits.
D. Expand societal responsibility for producing good friendships through education and models across the life span. e.g. Teach social and friendship skills for all ages.
E. Use and share ourselves with clients through transparency and genuine openness.
We need to start by developing model programs much like conscious raising group of the late 60's early 70's for the Baby Boomers related to friendship and its importance .