Dear Annie: I’ve been in a nursing home since I was 60. I would love to find someone to fall in love with, but I have a problem socializing. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that I’m in a nursing home. I’m depressed and see myself not having much time to live with my several health issues. I can’t walk and I’m wheelchair-bound. I’ve tried spending time with other residents, but they hardly talk to me. I feel like they don’t like me. As a result, I stay in my room except to go to physical therapy.
I’ve tried playing bingo, but the prizes they give are junk, so I don’t play anymore. The recreation around here is boring, so I don’t participate. I’m lonely. I don’t have a very high opinion of myself. I’m thinking of going to another nursing home close to my sister, as she tries to come once a week. My son lives in the city, which is about an hour’s drive from me, and comes whenever he can. I have a daughter who lives about eight miles away. I haven’t seen her since late July. We text each other, but she won’t talk to me on the phone. She has a boyfriend she sees. She says she’s always tired and has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It just hurts me that she has time and energy to see her boyfriend but not me. When I ask her to come, it turns into an argument.
I cry a lot and sometimes wish I were dead. I really don’t want to die, but I just can’t bear the emotional pain sometimes. I’m on antidepressants. I don’t see the psychiatrist very often, but I see a psychologist once a week. I get along well with my roommate, but I need a man to love. A lot of them here are married.
I think if I met a guy to love, I’d feel better about myself. I have a good sense of humor. I’m compassionate and caring, and I love to make people laugh. I used to be a nursing assistant but never thought I would ever be in this position. Please help me, Annie.
— Old and Alone
Dear Old and Alone: Big picture, you should absolutely try to make the switch from your current nursing home to the one by your sister. This will likely take time and money, though, so while you’re working on making the switch, do try to make the best of your current situation. Is it possible to see your psychologist more than once a week? Or try a new medication? Can you confide in your roommate about how lonely you’re feeling and take part in more activities, the two of you together?
I know it’s easier said than done to keep putting yourself out there and attempting companionship when you feel as if you’ve tried without getting anything in return. But isolating yourself and staying shut behind closed doors won’t get you any closer to friendships or a romantic relationship. And do remember to show yourself kindness. We attract what we put out into the world — it’s vital that you love yourself the way you want to love another person.
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